Following the massive destruction brought to Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe by Cyclone Idai, Rev Dennis Tongoi who leads the Gafcon Sustainable Development Network put Gafcon leaders in touch with one another and contact was made with Mozambican Bishop Vicente Msosa, who was present at Gafcon 2018 in Jerusalem.
Mozambique is one of the areas hardest hit and Bishop Vicente shared with us the traumatic impact of this disaster on his Diocese of Niassa. We immediately began to pray for Mozambique and the other nations affected using the newly introduced Gafcon Daily Prayer diary and continue to do so as this tragedy unfolds.
The force of the cyclone has destroyed homes, schools and hospitals while intense rainfall, as much as 180mm (7”) in 24 hours, has created vast inland lakes leaving people stranded on rooftops and in trees. Many are unable to swim and those who can are at risk from crocodiles. There is no sign of the waters receding and levels are expected to keep rising until the end of the month.
Along with emergency food, clean water, clothes and shelter, Bishop Vicente warned that mosquito nets are urgently needed. When I spoke to the bishop recently, he told me how earlier that day he had to bury a young woman who had died of malaria as a result of living in the open. Inflatable boats are also urgently required as reaching people with supplies and medical assistance is being hampered because many roads are underwater.
This disaster is going to affect people for months and years to come. Farmers’ hopes of a bumper harvest this year have been cruelly dashed and much livestock has been drowned, adding the threat of food insecurity beyond the immediate task of rescuing the stranded.
Bishop Vicente told us that he ‘has already in place a strong core team to carry out this relief support rapidly’ and this is a situation where we can take immediate action to share our love and solidarity with brothers and sisters in Christ.
Donations can be made through two partner agencies so that the diocese has the resources to reach and rescue those in distress and enable the survivors to rebuild their lives. Please visit the websites of either Anglican Aid (which has already donated US$3,500) or Anglican International Development for more information.
Rev Dr Dennis Tongoi, leader of the Gafcon Sustainable Development Network, commented:
‘This is an ongoing natural disaster whose impact shall be felt for years to come. The people of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi will need the participation of the international community not only to manage the immediate challenges of food, clean water, shelter but also the trauma and re-building of families and communities that have lost almost all their infrastructure’.