Ramadan struggle in cyclone-hit Mozambique island

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A woman walks past destroyed houses on May 13, 2019, on her way to an aid distribution centre in the coastal village of Guludo on Ibo Island, in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province, in the aftermath of a devastating cyclone. (AFP)
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Muslim men share food for Iftar (fast breaking meal) before sunset prayers on May 13, 2019, outside the central Mosque on Ibo Island, in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province, during the holy month of Ramadan. (AFP)
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Women fetch water for ablution as they prepare for prayers on May 14, 2019, in Kumwamba village on Ibo Island, in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province, during the holy month of Ramadan. (AFP)
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Muzasufa Abakari, 45, the head of the Muslim coastal village of Guludo on Ibo Island, in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province, poses for a photograph on May 13, 2019, during the holy month of Ramadan. (AFP)
Updated 15 May 2019
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Ramadan struggle in cyclone-hit Mozambique island

  • Residents of the island, where the majority of the population is Muslim, were left without shelter and with few places to worship with estimates that 90 percent of buildings were damaged

IBO, Mozambique: Muslims in the cyclone-ravaged Mozambican island of Ibo are struggling to observe the holy month of Ramadan as most mosques were destroyed and food is in short supply.
The island on the Quirimbas archipelago off Mozambique’s northeastern coast was one of the regions worst hit when Cyclone Kenneth struck last month packing winds of over 200 kilometers (125 miles) per hour.
Residents of the island, where the majority of the population is Muslim, were left without shelter and with few places to worship with estimates that 90 percent of buildings were damaged.
At one of the few mosques still standing, half of the roof was blown away by wind and prayer rugs were damaged by flooding.
Worshippers gather in one surviving section to say prayers. Female worshippers endure the harsh sun praying outdoors.
“Very few people are attending prayers because mosques were destroyed,” said Muzasufar Abakari, head of the village of Guludo.
Residents search for food to break the fast and survive mainly on high-energy biscuits handed out by aid agencies.
“As Muslims we observe Ramadan but there is no food to eat. On Friday (holy day) there was no-one because there is no wall at the mosque,” said Abakari.
The cyclone killed at least 41 people across northern Mozambique and displaced thousands.
Some people on Ibo have been sleeping in damaged mosques.
“People have been sleeping here because their houses were destroyed. With nothing — from clothes to food — God willing our prayers are answered and we will receive help,” said imam Saidi Cassabo, from Kumwamba village.
Before the storm, Ibo island, a popular tourist destination, was a haven of golden beaches, unspoiled coral reefs and lush greenery.


China says it won’t rule out using force to reunify Taiwan

Updated 13 min 10 sec ago
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China says it won’t rule out using force to reunify Taiwan

BEIJING: China says it will not “renounce the use of force” in efforts to reunify Taiwan with the mainland and vows to take all necessary military measures to defeat “separatists.”
In a national defense white paper released Wednesday, China listed among its top priorities its resolve to contain “Taiwan independence” and combat what it considers separatist forces in Tibet and the far west region of Xinjiang.
Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said the threat of Taiwan separatism is growing and warned that those who are seeking Taiwan independence will meet a dead end.
The white paper also pointed to US, Japanese and Australian moves to beef up their military presence and alliances in the Asia-Pacific as bringing uncertainties to the region.
The US deployment of a missile defense system in South Korea has severely undermined the regional strategic balance, the report said. It further noted Japan’s reinterpretation of its post-World War II constitution to allow its military to operate farther from its shores.
China’s military expansion in recent years has prompted concerns among other Pacific countries in a region long dominated by the US Navy.