When it became clear the river would not stop rising, the communities on the banks of the mighty Betsiboka had only one decision to make; what to take with them as they fled.
Making for high ground, away from the fast-swelling rivers, Nirina Josian hauls her cart though waist deep water and slick mud. Her youngest child clings to her back terrified. Piled on the cart is a jerrycan of water, two tea cups, a handful of dry firewood, and a bag of rice.
When she returns home five days later, the significance of her hurried packing sinks in. Nirina’s house has been gutted in the flood; everything she owned, claimed by the river or scattered and buried under a foot of mud. The fields are decimated; rice and maize choked in red earth. Those few items are now the foundation of her future.
But there is a silver lining in that red mud left behind by the flood. Full of alluvial sediments, it is highly fertile and could produce a crop in weeks. But the communities must move fast before the land bakes dry and must be tilled. With no seed and few farming implements of their own, HoverAid is using some of the generous donations – that have been poured out for these isolated communities – to purchase seed and equipment that will help Nirina, her family, and 100 of the affected neighbouring households, get back on their feet after the flood.