Maputo — At least 30 boats are still missing in the central Mozambican city of Beira, following the devastation caused by cyclone Idai, which hit the city on 14 March.
These were small boats used to carry passengers and cargo in the Beira area, and to districts such as Buzi and Muchanga, and were owned by members of the Praia Nova Transporters' Association, reports Monday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
The boats were torn from their moorings by the cyclonic winds and, over a month later, their owners still have no idea where they are.
The chairperson of the association, Manuel Djei, says that searches for the boats are continuing, but it is feared that many of them were blown out to the high sea.
"The situation of our association is desolate", he said. "Our members are in despair over what happened. The boats contributed to the transport of people and goods, and were a source of income, both for the owners and for the workers they employed".
Djei sad that the insurance for the boats does not cover this type of situation, which makes matters even worse for the owners.
The Sofala Provincial Maritime Administration is aware of the situation, and its staff are assisting in the search for the missing boats. Clearly, some of the boats have sunk since, during the searches, wreckage was found along the Beira coast.
The Beira fishermen's association faces a similar situation, and lost about 20 boats during the cyclone.