Mozambique families count cyclone cost

Macomia - Soaking mattresses, bent corrugated iron sheets, some wooden chairs and two slender chickens are about all that Assan Madal and his wife Maria Mendosa were able salvage from the wreckage of their wood and mud home.

They laid out all their possessions neatly around a murky puddle, as their five children looked on quietly, and the chickens pecked for food in thick clumps of mud.

Mendosa, 37, cooked cassava paste on a small wood fire and her husband picked through the devastation wrought by Cyclone Kenneth on Nacate, a village of a few hundred people in Mozambique's far north.

"We were inside the room, and the roof started to fly, and then the house fell apart because it was it was a mud house," said Madal, 62.

"Now we are sleeping under the palm trees. I don't have a job, and I have five children... Everything is gone in my agricultural plot, there's just a little bit of cassava left."

"Tonight we're going to eat some maize and beans. We don't have much food," added his wife.

Clothes and sheets dried on a palm tree nearby.

Mendosa said the cyclone was "too bad" for their children Pizere, Naturesa, Ancha, Ida and Luigi.

Before the storm which ravaged Mozambique, southern Tanzania and Comoros from Tuesday, Nacate was a neat village on the road between Pemba and Macomia.

It had a school, a towering cellular mast, a modest corner shop and a tea room.

'Maybe we're going to die'

While the concrete classrooms and reinforced steel tower survived, the tea room was destroyed.

A crumpled yellow satellite dish lay in front of the Impala Salao da Cha tea house and inside the roofless structure, a muddy green plastic wineglass lay on its side.

"The wind and the rain broke my shop," said Impala's owner Andrane Bacar, 45, whose shorts were decorated with cartoon cockerels.

"I'm not going to build anything else because I had two houses and this shop. Everything is destroyed. I don't have the means to rebuild. I'll just try to rebuild one home, and I cannot even do this."

Another business nearby, the corner shop, had also lost its roof in the storm which has claimed at least five lives since it made landfall.

But shopkeeper Jamal Amisse had worked round the clock to repair the damage and prepare the store to reopen.

"Here in the village, as you see, 300 houses have been destroyed. Everything," said Amisse, 37, as four teenage boys played football in the road near the fallen village sign.

"There is nothing to do so maybe we're going to die because we won't get any help. We are black and poor, we don't have anything."

In Macomia, just 10km north of Nacate along a potholed road peppered with fallen trees, generators whirred as technicians battled to reconnect the town's 90,000 people.

Builders worked by the headlights of their lorry to reconstruct the destroyed BCI bank where the entire facade had been ripped off exposing cash machines and office furniture.

The workmen told AFP that nothing had been stolen and that the cash had been quickly removed following the branch's destruction by Kenneth.

Opposite the bank a fallen overhead cable sagged after a pylon was damaged in the storm forcing pedestrians and drivers to pass perilously close to the high-voltage supply as it began to rain heavily.