U.S. conferences help Mozambique as 200,000 affected by flooding that continues to destroy

Devastating floods that began in late January continue to displace and destroy in Mozambique, leaving some 200,000 people affected and at least 100 dead.

“In Mozambique rains are still devastating families, communities and the whole society. In the north of Mozambique, the reports we are receiving from the D.S. (district superintendent) are not encouraging. The rains continue to increase the number of victims,” wrote the Rev. Joao Sambo, pastor of Liberdade United Methodist Church in Maputo, in a Feb. 21 email to the Rev. Glenn Rowley of the Virginia Annual (regional) Conference.

The United Methodist Church and relief agencies worldwide — including United Nations agencies — have responded.

The Mozambique Initiative of the Missouri Annual (regional) Conference in the United States and supporters in Missouri are partnering with local churches throughout Mozambique to respond.

The Mozambique church is raising money and organizing relief efforts on the ground. The Mozambique Initiative has forwarded $15,000 and is working closely with local churches in Mozambique who have contributed supplies, food, clothing, and funds from special offerings.

The Virginia Annual Conference in the United States two weeks ago sent $10,000 from its Initiatives of Hope fund.

Sambo wrote to Rowley that they plan to use part of the money to repair two parsonages that have been left uninhabitable by the floods and the rest of the funds will go to purchase mosquito nets.

“With the rain season still taking place right now, the number of victims is increasing,” Sambo wrote. “There is a lot of dirty water almost everywhere, proper for mosquito breeding, let alone many areas which are basically swamp. …. If we can provide mosquito nets now in this emergency period, we would reduce the number of fatalities. …”

Through the Missouri-Mozambique partnership, two distributions of food, clothing, and water have been made to the residents of Chokwe and Chibuto, two towns hit hardest by flooding.

The conference leadership of Mozambique, including Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala, delivered rice, beans, porridge, corn meal, oil, sugar, hygiene material, clothing and clean water to families in need.

The Flood Relief Task Force on the ground in Mozambique indicated this distribution gave a lifeline to numerous families in need.

United Nations agencies also began food relief early in February as well as efforts to minimize maternal and child deaths from the disaster.

“The situation is getting worse as more and more people are being affected,” Nhanala told the Missouri conference initiative. “The needs are great and almost everything is needed.”

Nhanala said the church’s response locally is “very positive; our congregations are giving their support in several ways… .We are also getting some help from our partner conferences from abroad and we are thankful.”

The Missouri conference is asking churches throughout the state and anywhere else to contribute as able.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief is accepting donations through theInternational Disaster Response Advance #982450.

*Sarah E. Bollinger, The Mozambique Initiative coordinator for the Missouri Annual (regional) Conference and the Rev. Glenn Rowley, director of Justice and Missional Excellence for the Virginia Annual (regional) Conference, contributed to this story.

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