In Pictures

The devastating effects of drought and severe weather in Mozambique

Photojournalist Mário Macilau has produced a black-and-white series on the people of Namaacha and Changalane, near Maputo, in Mozambique.

Macilau believes climate change has had a negative impact on the lives of the people of Mozambique.

The combination of a long-lasting drought, rapid urbanisation and population growth is increasing the pressure on the already limited fresh water supplies for Maputo and other coastal cities.

Communities continue to rely heavily on rain-dependent agriculture and food production.

Here are some of Macilau's pictures, commissioned by WaterAid, with accounts from the people he has photographed.


A portrait of Luisa Warmusse Image copyright Mario Macilau

Luisa Warmusse, 72, found herself homeless in February when powerful storms destroyed her house, along with many other homes.

She says: "While my son was still working, he gave me a valuable present in building a decent house for me.

"I used to keep my belongings there and it was where my heart was."

She believes that the strong winds were caused by climate change.

What is left of her home in Changalane is seen below.

A pile of rubble that was Luisa Warmusse's home Image copyright Mario Macilau
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Angeline Macamo next to a water pump Image copyright Mario Macilau

Angeline Macamo, 43, collects water far away from home in Namaacha.

A water pump Image copyright Mario Macilau

"Every single day, I walk a few miles in search of water," she says. "And each day I do, it seems that I have to go further.

"I was born here and we used to have water nearby but now all these places are dry and there is nothing growing."

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Aniceto sitting on top of a pile of firewood Image copyright Mario Macilau

Aniceto, 14, collects firewood in Namaacha to earn money so his family can eat.

He says: "I know a bit about the climate system and perhaps eliminating or reducing wood from the forest is not good but we depend on it to sustain our lives.

"I have the responsibility as the male to put bread on the table."

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Dina Macanje next to bags of charcoal Image copyright Mario Macilau

Dina Macanje, 54, transports charcoal to earn money. Agriculture is no longer viable for Dina to earn a living, since the weather patterns changed in Maputo.

Corn is failing to grow and rain is less frequent. People are growing corn in dry fields.

Dry corn in a field Image copyright Mario Macilau

She says: "I used to think that the rainy seasons would last forever but every day we are facing dry farming.

"It's hard to maintain a family. We don't even have substantial agriculture anymore."

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Paula Cardoso next to her home Image copyright Mario Macilau

Paula Cardoso, 29, left her home and travelled 30km (20 miles) to Namaacha to try to improve her living conditions.

She says: "I left my home because I was suffering. I had no water to drink, to cook with, to wash clothes with or for bathing.

"The public transportation doesn't work at all and animals suffer because the environment is dry and there is no water or food."

Paula Cardoso's cattle Image copyright Mario Macilau
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Portrait of Frederico Image copyright Mario Macilau

Frederico, 17, is no longer attending school due to the financial pressure on his family.

His village, Namaacha, is considered by locals to be one of the areas most seriously affected by climate change, with employment opportunities diminishing.

With limited water resources, very few local businesses survive.

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Miguel Langa burning forest Image copyright Mario Macilau

Farmer Miguel Langa, 42, has witnessed changes in the weather and environment. He burns wood from the forest to have access to more land on which to grow food.

He says: "I have more than 20 years of experience and only recently have things changed a lot.

"In winter, it is incredibly hot. And in summer, it is cold. It hasn't been raining in the rainy season, so now I don't expect rain anymore.

"However, I keep doing what I do, growing my food and taking care of my animals. I have been burning the wood from the forest as an alternative way to get new soil to grow food and to explore the wooded areas.

"I know it is not good for the environment but at least I can help my family and myself."

All photos courtesy of Mário Macilau and WaterAid.

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