Angola, 22 November 2010 - Nearly a thousand bent and broken corrugated metal roofs and three hundred damaged or destroyed mud houses were left in the wake of severe gales and storms that hit Cuemba town, Angola at the beginning of the rainy season.
"During this period the cold and wet weather brings big problems annually for local people including outbreaks of respiratory disease and proliferation of malaria carrying mosquitoes," says Judith Škovránková, leader of the Cuembě Project for People in Need. "In addition this year, because of the devastating storms, people have had to take shelter in the few dozen houses that were at least temporarily repaired."
Most local people can not afford to buy new sheets for roofs; the price of which has increased due to the fact that in the rainy season Cuembu is connected with the outside world by just one muddy road, passable only by all terrain vehicles. "From funds from the Friends of People in Need Club, we purchased and distributed seven hundred new roofing sheets," says Škovránková.
At least 114 of the worst affected families were given a new roof over their heads. "It helped us very much. My brother's family took us in under their roof immediately after the storm, but the house only has two small rooms and there were 16 of us. We were basically left with the clothes that were wearing on our backs that day. Everything else was covered in rubble and debris. We knew we couldn’t stay with our relatives indefinitely, but we didn’t know what to do. I calculated how much I would have to borrow to be able to build at least a temporary shelter for my family. This would have meant that the children, for the next year, would not have been able to go to school. It worked out that we wouldn’t even have enough to buy a pot of porridge a day," says Joao, "and I prayed that no-one would get ill". "When we got the new materials for the roof, we put all our worries aside and threw ourselves into making new mud bricks for the walls and today we are putting our new roof on!"
Funds from the Friends of People in Need Club also enabled People in Need to buy a new roof for the local health center.
People in Need has been present in the area of Cuemba since 2007 and is mainly carrying out projects aimed at developing agriculture and education.