Christian World Service and Anglican Missions in Aotearoa New Zealand have opened emergency appeals to support the relief work of churches in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique as they respond to the massive impact of Tropical Cyclone Idai.
The category two Cyclone Idai made landfall on 14-15 March 2019 near Beira City in central Mozambique, causing flooding across the three countries that has affected up to 3 million people and so far caused over 1000 deaths.
United Nations (UN) officials have called Cyclone Idai one of the worst weather-related disasters to ever hit the southern hemisphere. This cyclone has affected people who already live with high levels of poverty and they know there are limited services available from their governments.
The Government of Mozambique has requested international assistance as humanitarian response continues, despite the significant challenges for getting help to people after the heavy rains damaged roads and washed away bridges.
Conditions in Malawi are similar across its affected regions.
“We call upon you to join in prayers and sympathising with all the people who are trapped in this catastrophic incident and the support for these thousands of people that are displaced and rendered homeless, missing and injured”, said Rev. Alex Benson Maulana, general secretary of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian Blantyre Synod in Malawi.
“We appeal to our partners and all people of goodwill to spare some resources and whatever you can to support our fellow brothers and sisters who are now struggling with life”.
In Mozambique over 110,000 people are living in emergency camps. In total 129,000 people have been displaced, mainly from the provinces of Zambezia, Niassa and Sofala. As efforts to rescue people trapped by the floods wind down, the region is now bracing for the spread of disease, including cholera and malaria. In order to assist the most vulnerable populations the UN is coordinating a response that prioritises education, health, hygiene kits, food security, protection and nutrition.
An initial assessment conducted by international Christian development and relief agencies network, the ACT Alliance, has identified the most urgent needs for its church-coordinated response and found that orphans and other vulnerable children have been disproportionately affected.
The storm has destroyed more than 2,800 of Mozambique's school classrooms, 39 health centres and 17,400 houses (with 11,025 houses partially destroyed). More than 385,300 hectares of crops (affecting 53,318 small farmers whose livelihoods depends on farm produce) have been severely damaged.
Bishop of Mozambique's Lebombo Diocese, Rt Rev Carlos Matsinhe, says that Anglican efforts need to focus on recovery, highlighting the need for collaboration with other institutions and the mobilisation of local Anglican resources.
Bishop Carlos has raised the need for restoring school buildings and the need for school resources, health protection, and support to families in rebuilding their homes, agriculture and livestock. He added there is a need to buy seeds and agricultural equipment to help people get back on their feet.
All the Christian agencies have affirmed that the best way to help is through prayer and monetary donations that will enable people on the ground to get the right support to those who need it most.
Donate online to Christian World Service’s Cyclone Idai Appeal (via ecumenical ACT Alliance) (tax deductible)
Donate online to Anglican Missions’ Mozambique Cyclone Idai Appeal (via Anglican Alliance)