Tropical Storm Ana developed in the Indian Ocean on 22nd January and then tore through Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi before petering out over Zimbabwe. It brought high winds, heavy rains and significant damage in its path and has affected several hundred thousand people. In Mozambique the storm has claimed over 25 lives, destroyed over 2,400 school classrooms and flooded over 70,000 hectares of land. You can read an update from OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) dated 1st February here. The worst affected areas in Mozambique in Zambezia and Tete provinces, where most of ZEC Mozambique’s churches are located.
The situation in Malawi has been equally severe. Some weather stations in the south of the country recorded over 300mm rainfall within 24 hours. At least 33 people have died and 20 people are still missing. More than 110,000 people have been displaced. The districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje have been hardest-hit, according to satellite imagery analysed by UNOSAT.
The storm caused damage to homes, roads, bridges and other infrastructure (including schools, health centres and churches). This has made it very difficult for our Field Director Simon Chikwana to travel to the worst affected area. Malawi’s hydroelectric power plants were also damaged, which has caused major power disruption after the storm. So far we know the following:
- One of Chikwawa ZEC’s prayer houses called Bereu ZEC has been completely destroyed.
- Two of Nsanje ZEC’s prayer houses have been badly affected. At Nyamula ZEC over 25 homes have completely collapsed and at Nyankhwale ZEC 22 households have lost their homes, crops or other property.
This video shows the complete destruction of Bereu ZEC Prayer House
We have had various messages from our partners:
Pastor Mvula Mvula of the River of Life Evangelical Church wrote: “The storm rendered roads to be impassable and many peoples’ houses are destroyed. Most of our members have been affected. This disaster will be felt for a long time because peoples’ gardens have been washed away making most households in need of both relief and rehabilitation plans. This is a national disaster and would you please pray for Malawi. Pray that the church to bring hope to those in need and especially at this point of need”.
Pastor Steven Jose who is churchplanter at Moatize in north west Mozambique said: “Storm Ana has done a lot of damage here in Tete. Many homes have been destroyed and property has been washed away. Some Christians have been affected by this tragedy, especially those in our church in Tete city. Even the Rovubué Bridge that connects Moatize and Tete has been torn apart. But we thank the Lord that here in Moatize there are very few Christians who have been affected by the collapse of their homes. Help us to pray for Christians who have lost their possessions. Thank you”.
Mr Jefrery Lolonha a ZEC Member from Vila Ulongue told us: “Four days ago we had big rain and big wind, more houses have been destroyed, bridges, and some people have passed away including the D/C of Tete District”.
At this stage we know that we will need to help our brothers and sisters in Christ in Malawi and northern Mozambique. We will share more about our detailed response as and when our team in Blantyre have assessed the full situation and liaised with our partners ZEC and River of Life Evangelical Church. If you would like to make a donation to help the mission’s relief effort you can make a donation via our website or if you would prefer to make a donation by cheque or bank transfer please contact us on email@example.com for further details.
In the meantime, as requested by our partners in Malawi and Mozambique, please can you pray. Please pray that those who have lost loved ones, homes, possessions or their crops would be comforted. Please pray that God would provide hope and sustenance to those in need through His body, the church.
We were also very concerned about Tropical Cyclone Batsirai that developed in the Indian Ocean. That caused further destruction in Madagascar between 5th and 6th February, but now appears to be abating and moving away from the African mainland. Thank you for your prayers – we are thankful to God that this storm should not now cause further devastation.