Response to Cyclones in Mozambique and Zimbabwe

Response to Cyclones in Mozambique and Zimbabwe

Cyclone Eloise made landfall in Mozambique and Zimbabwe on January 23, 2021, less than a month after Cyclone Chalane struck the same areas. Cyclone Eloise brought 75 mile per hour winds and eight inches of rainfall in a 12-hour period. In Mozambique, at least 314,000 people have been affected by the cyclones, with more than 20,000 people displaced. Over 29,000 houses have been destroyed in the region and over 440,000 acres of agricultural land were flooded. Accommodation centers have been set up for families who have evacuated damaged areas by the cyclones in Beira, Nhamatanda, and Machanga. Others are sheltering in schools, government facilities, and churches. Right now, priorities include food, tents, potable water, hygiene kits, COVID-19 prevention materials, mosquito nets, blankets, flashlights, and soap. Eventually, farming resources to replant crops will be delivered.

In preparation for Cyclone Eloise, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) encouraged ministers and families to evacuate flood prone regions and to seek sanctuary in churches located in more secure areas. The ZCC has been offering spiritual accompaniment available through phone calls to ministers and is providing immediate responses to those impacted by the disaster.

The United Church of Christ in Mozambique, Christian Council of Mozambique, Zimbabwe Council of Churches, and the United Church of Christ in Mozambique are responding to the cyclones and the long-term restoration of communities. As cyclones and natural disasters continue to disrupt life and cause damage within Mozambique and Zimbabwe, the rebuilding of homes, restoration of income-generating opportunities, and implementation of climate resilient measures will take years.

Global Ministries is grateful to Week of Compassion and Global H. O. P. E. for their responses to this emergency on behalf of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. Relief funds from Week of Compassion and Global H. O. P. E. have been approved to provide urgent assistance for church partners as they respond to the damages caused by Cyclone Chalane and Eloise. If you would like to make a gift supporting the work of church partners in Mozambique and Zimbabwe responding to the cyclones Chalane and Eloise, you may do so here.

January 2021:

Cyclone Chalane made landfall in Mozambique and Zimbabwe on December 30, 2020, causing flash flooding and strong winds in Chimanimani and Chipinge districts in Zimbabwe and in Sofala and Manica Provinces in Mozambique. Additionally, partners and families are preparing for another tropical storm, Eloise, which is anticipated to make landfall soon.

In Mozambique, the United Church of Christ in Mozambique (UCCM) and the Christian Council of Mozmbique (CCM) share that the storm caused damages to shelters and facilities within the 65 existing resettlement sites in the region established in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in 2019. As a result of Cyclone Chalane, the homes, shelters, and tents of over 5,000 families have been destroyed or partially destroyed. The most affected districts have been Dondo (1,793 households), Buzi (1,629 households), Nhamatanda (802 households) and Sussundenga (471 households). Additionally, 2,552 latrines, 18 water points, and two schools were damaged in the storm, as well as five health centers.

Situated in the coastal country of Mozambique, the United Church of Christ in Mozambique and the Christian Council of Mozambique (CCM) are prepared to respond to the priorities for families impacted by the storm. The initial response of UCCM and CCM is to provide 200 families in the affected regions with cooking oil, flour, corn, rice, beans, sugar, salt, water, and seeds. At the moment, the full extent of the storm’s damage has not been determined. As more becomes known, UCCM and CCM will continue to support communities and families in this region.

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In Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) reports that roofs of houses were blown off, a few institutions including Chimanimani hospital and Ndima School were damaged in Chimanimani. Prior to the cyclone, more than 600 people were evacuated to safe places. Also, more than 100 refugee families in the Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge District were temporarily moved to a location in higher elevation. Many of those who left their homes for safer places moved without adequate food and non-food necessities.

Since the Cyclone had passed, some have begun to return their homes, while others are still skeptical to move back. In both situations, normal livelihood activities have been disrupted by the event. Crop fields are now water-logged, shuttering the hopes for a plentiful harvest. The cyclone came at the time when the country was faced with multifaceted challenges including the deep-rooted food insecurity and humanitarian crisis, economic collapse, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Zimbabwe Council of Churches is responding to Cyclone Chalane by providing emergency food items, soap, buckets, agricultural seeds and fertilizers, agricultural training workshops on climate change adaptation, psycho-social support, and community cohesion efforts for families in Chimanimani and Chipinge. The United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe (UCCZ) is responding to the cyclone as well, by raising awareness of the cyclones in marginalized communities and assisting in making evacuation plans. In addition, the UCCZ is offering counseling and pastoral care for families impacted harshly by the cyclone and other natural disasters.

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Make a gift to support the United Church of Christ in Zimbabwe