Anglicans respond as southern Africa devastated by Cyclone Idai

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The massive cyclone devastated parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, leaving in its wake widespread flooding, hundreds of people injured or unaccounted for, and thousands displaced. Photo: ACT Zimbabwe Forum

More than 1,000 people are estimated to have died in a massive cyclone that devastated parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, leaving in its wake widespread flooding, hundreds of people injured or unaccounted for, and thousands displaced.

Cyclone Idai made landfall March 14 near Beira City in central Mozambique, damaging 90% of the city, according to the UN. A national emergency has been declared.

In response to the destruction, the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF)—the Anglican Church of Canada’s relief agency—has given $70,000 to fund partner organization ACT Alliance’s emergency response in the region. The initial pledge will allocate $30,000 to relief in Mozambique and $20,000 each to Zimbabwe and Malawi.

PWRDF has been in contact with partner organizations in the region, such as ACT Alliance, Canadian Foodgrains Bank, EHALE in Mozambique and TSURO in Zimbabwe, to obtain updates on the needs in affected areas.

“The priority in Mozambique is…getting clean water and sanitation, because that seems to be the biggest issue,” says Janice Biehn, communications coordinator for PWRDF.

“There has been a lot of destruction of all sorts of buildings,” Bishop Carlos Matsinhe, bishop of the diocese of Lebombo in Mozambique told Anglican Alliance, an agency of the Anglican Communion that helps co-ordinate national and regional Anglican development agencies. “Many people have been left with no shelter and no food. Consequently health conditions of the people will deteriorate soon. And because this storm has damaged power lines there is no communication so we know very little of the details of the destruction…. Really just now we need your prayers over the situation.”

Flooding and a lack of clean water and sanitation as a result of the cyclone have already begun to impact health; five cases of cholera had been reported in Beira as of Wednesday, March 27, according to the Guardian.

In a message posted online, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, primate of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, offered “deepest condolences” and “heartfelt pain” to those affected by the cyclone. He appealed to Anglicans across his province to donate to disaster relief.

“We want to assure the affected dioceses in Mozambique—the diocese of Lebombo led by Bishop Carlos Matsinhe and the diocese of Niassa led by bishop Vicente Msosa—of our prayers. Please pray also for the dioceses in Malawi and Zimbabwe in our neighbouring province of Central Africa which were affected.”

Canadian Anglicans wishing to donate through PWRDF can do so by telephone at 1-866-308-7973; visiting pwrdf.org/give-today and selecting “Emergency Response”; texting “PWRDF” to 45678; or mailing a cheque marked “Cyclone Relief” to the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund, 80 Hayden Street, 3rd floor, Toronto, Ontario, M4Y 3G2.

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Joelle Kidd
Joelle Kidd joined the Anglican Journal in 2017 as staff writer. She has worked as an editor and writer for the Winnipeg-based Fanfare Magazine Group and as freelance copy editor for Naida Communications.

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