Arias lives in Mangunze, a rural zone some 100 miles from Maputo, the capital, and some 20 miles from Xai-Xai, capital of Gaza state. There’s only one hospital in the state that has an ICU: 12 beds, in a wing opened last year. Not nearly enough when the region has 2.5 million inhabitants.
“They’re opening new hospitals,” Arias told Crux. “But not because they have medicine to treat people: they’re setting up cots in rooms to where the ill will be taken. But we have no oxygen tanks.”
The region he lives in has no regular access to electricity, and only a handful of parishioners have access to a phone with internet, even though WhatsApp is how people are being kept informed about the crisis.
“The people in my parish are afraid. This is a rural area, with no electricity, no TV, barely any radios,” he said. “The situation is complicated, and they believe they’re going to die like dogs, much like during the war. They take for granted many are going to die, because there are things that cannot be planned for.”