MOZAMBIQUE – After Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe were pummeled with winds up to 170 mph by Cyclone Idai in mid-March, a Red Cross worker described the damage as “massive and horrifying.”
As is almost always the case following large-scale hurricanes, cyclones, and typhoons, the countries are suffering massive flooding. According to Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF), the devastation of the storm and the pursuant flooding has left many individuals and small groups of villagers stranded, isolated, and difficult to reach.
We are finding people on tufts of ground, roofs of houses, wherever there was land. Animals, snakes, people all would get into the tree or the little tuft of land, and using food provided by the World Food Program, we started dropping food at different places. But we’re a part of a larger response now and we’re blessed to be able to serve and help those suffering.
That larger response also includes Christian relief agencies such as Samaritan’s Purse, Food for the Hungry, Mercy Air, and Operation Mobilization (OM).
Food for the Hungry noted that the storm itself is regarded as “the worst cyclone on record to hit Africa and the Southern Hemisphere.” More than 12,000 homes have been destroyed, over 400,000 acres of crops devastated, and more than 2.5 million people have been displaced. The death toll has exceeded 200 and thousands of others are injured or missing.
Sources of clean water have been decimated, further threatening the survivors with the potential of the outbreak and spread of infectious diseases common both to the area and to post-disaster scenarios.
Samaritan’s Purse shipped 27 tons of emergency supplies, teams of disaster response specialists, and medical staff to the area on March 22. That shipment and personnel were taken to various distribution points on the organization’s Africa-based aircraft.
Mercy Air has been providing additional support via its helicopter service, allowing relief to reach even the most isolated locations using specially-equipped choppers.
Operation Mobilization has put its local teams into action to provide relief, restoration, and long-term recovery. OM has been discipling Christian leaders within Mozambique for the past 30 years. Their full-time presence lends credibility to people who may be as wary of the influx of outsiders as they are of cyclones and floods. An OM representative explained that “We are not coming in just because disaster occurred. We’re . . . there already.”
In addition to the on-site relief efforts, OM’s presence in surrounding countries – most of which are plagued by civil conflicts – provides aid to displaced persons in refugee camps. It is estimated that at least 25,000 have been able to flee the ravages of the storm and the floods by heading to camps in strife-torn neighboring countries where they may end up suffering even more long-term obstacles to survival.
Don’t just read this news and move on to the next item on your agenda. Stop to take a few minutes to pray for these millions whose suffering has gone from bad to worse in just a few days. Let’s follow OM’s suggestion:
When God’s children are in a crisis anywhere around the world, it’s part of our family. Get on your knees, have that quiet time with God… and say, ‘What can I do?’
To read more news on Mozambique on Missions Box, go here.
- Samaritan’s Purse, Mozambique Cyclone Relief
- MAF, Cyclone Idai Disaster Response
- Mercy Air, Mozambique Flood Relief
- Food for the Hungry, Emergency – Cyclone Idai
- Mission Network News, Idai recovery part of OM’s long-term strategy
- USAID U.S. Agency for International Development [Public domain]