"Be pleased, O Lord to save me;
O Lord, come quickly to help me"
Malawi and northern Mozambique have once more been
affected by disaster. Following four days of torrential rain earlier this
month, raging flood waters have inflicted widespread destruction. The
Government of Malawi stated: "As
of Tuesday, 12th March: 56 deaths & 577 injuries have been recorded.
3 people are missing. 184,589 households (approximately 922,945 people)
have been affected & 16,545 households (approximately 82,725 people)
have been displaced". There is now mounting concern that, just days
after this tragic event, another storm (Tropical Cyclone Idai) is about
to hit the same beleaguered part of southern Malawi and northern Mozambique.
We have just had an update
from Simon Chikwana, zm's Field Director in Malawi.
He says the situation is very bad, worse than the flooding
at the start of 2016. Very few parts of Central and Southern
Malawi have been spared. The impact on houses is severe. In
one church alone, Chiradzulu ZEC, 150 houses have been destroyed.
Simon's own words were that “the
number of houses lost is uncountable”. And still the rains are
falling, with the pattern being typically two days of rain
followed by two days of dry weather. The forecast is saying
that there will be very heavy rains in the next few days in
the north of Malawi. Simon is getting an accurate figure of
all churches affected and will then try to prioritise how to
help. The tragic thing is that Malawians rely on their crops.
The maize harvest was nearly ready, yet the recent rain has
effectively flattened many fields. This means that the maize
becomes and remains sodden for an extended period and then germinates
before there is an opportunity to gather it in. Simon's estimate
is that many farmers will only be able to harvest a small proportion
of what they were expecting. This means that the impact will
be felt for at least a year, since the next harvest will not
come until the spring of 2020
We had heard that a new
storm (Tropical cyclone Idai) was approaching and expected to
affect Mozambique and move towards southern Malawi today. However,
it has not impacted Malawi directly, but passed instead through
Mozambique into Zimbabwe. We can't say that we are thankful
for this, as it has simply created widespread destruction elsewhere.
Field Director Simon Chikwana gave the following update earlier
today - "the latest storm has not affected Malawi, but
instead Mozambique and Zimbabwe. I was with the General Secretary
for ZEC in Mozambique yesterday. He said nationally 110 have been
killed. There is no report yet on any members of the church, but
5000 houses, 8 schools and 7 hospitals have collapsed in Mozambique.
This report was as of Thursday evening; Eight ZEC churches have
collapsed. One in the east and seven in the west. He did not have
specifics on the houses of members. He is expecting that from
pastors shortly. As for Malawi the effects have just been heavy
rains in Chikwawa and Nsanje and the Northern Region. However,
the heavy rains has pounced on already bruised households. The
number of houses lost from last storm is overwhelming".
Please join us in prayer for all those affected.
Please contact us or at firstname.lastname@example.org if you
would like to donate towards the mission's relief efforts amongst
our church partners.
Some people in the
UK or America argue that Climate Change doesn't really exist: but the reality
for the people of Malawi and Mozambique is that they are facing more and
more extreme weather events every year. The consequences
are severe - affecting not only crops and livelihoods, but also the fabric
of the homes that they live in. Poverty means that their houses are
often less secure than we might consider normal, which makes them doubly
vulnerable to storms like these. Deforestation (which is in itself
poverty-related) means that flash flooding has become much more serious
in recent times.
have been hampered by damage to the roads leading to the worst affected
areas. zm's Field Director Simon
Chikwana told us that the "Government is now trying to repair
the roads to Chikwawa, Phalombe, Mulanje and Chiradzulu". Once movement
is permitted again, Simon will visit our partners whose churches were affected
by the storms and flooding. He is trying to discern the immediate needs
in terms of food, kitchen utensils, temporary shelter plastic, water, sanitation,
clothes and blankets. Once we have this information we will know precisely
how to intervene.
On Tuesday 12th March zm's Executive
Committee authorised initial expenditure of £10,000. We will be
continuously monitoring the situation.We do not yet know the full impact
on our partners and their churches, but we have already heard that many
peoples' houses have collapsed, including pastors' houses.
get in touch with us here if
you would like to help financially. Or you can give
via the website.
~ to everyone who has already given to support the
mission's small but significant relief efforts, as we seek to help
the most vulnerable in our partners' churches.
Please do pray
~ for the government's wider relief efforts;
~ for everyone who has been affected and particularly
for those whose houses have been badly damaged or swept away;
~ for protection from the further storms that are