incredible Mozambique tree story

This is a newpaper article from Meaveen in Australia:

Flood, feast and famine in Mozambique

January 27, 2008

We are driving along a pot-holed road in southern Mozambique when we reach a small bridge over the Limpopo. As we cross it, I look down at one of Africa’s great watercourses, a river that runs for 1700 kilometres from its source in South Africa.

No more than 30 metres across, the Limpopo lies still, its waters flowing gently through marshlands and reed banks. Around us is a flat yet fertile alluvial plain, a landscape of low grasslands and long horizons broken only by groves of cashew trees and the occasional towering coconut palm.

“Many people and animals came to this bridge during the floods of 2000,” one of our passengers, Carolina Chibure, says. “The water didn’t quite reach the bridge, and hundreds and hundreds of people crammed together to survive. They lived and cooked and slept on the bridge for many days.”

Carolina, 32, is in a unique position to describe the floods, in which 700 people died and half a million were displaced, because she is the public face of that disaster. As the waters raged, she clung tenaciously to the branch of a tree where, after three days without food or water, she gave birth to a baby girl. That girl, Rosita, is sitting beside me, drawing in my notebook, on the back seat of the car.

Eventually rescued by a paramedic who was winched down from a helicopter, Carolina and Rosita became instantly famous as their airlift was captured by a television crew and broadcast around the world. The compelling footage made another incomprehensible tragedy in a largely unknown part of Africa suddenly seem very human. Public donations increased substantially.

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