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Cyclone Idai Devastates Eastern Zimbabwe
At least 89 people have died in Zimbabwe after Cyclone Idai tore across the eastern and southern parts of the country. Idai has deepened the suffering of a nation already grappling with economic and ecological woes.
The scale of destruction is unprecedented. Chimanimani has been cut off. Torrential rains and 170km winds swept away roads, homes, bridges and knocked out power and communication lines. The UN estimates that 5.3 million people will require food aid. Christian Aid is well positioned to compassionately respond to crises such as this.
The Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) shares the following details and action plans:
Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe was characterized by heavy rains and winds and widespread destruction of infrastructure; resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people, and destroyed livelihoods of inhabitants of Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East Province of Zimbabwe.
Official reports are saying over 100 people are reported dead and the exact number of the missing people is not known according to Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) television. Over 20,000 houses have been partially destroyed and over 200 families have been left homeless in Chipinge, Bikita, Chimanimani and Masvingo, and Mutare districts. According to the Chairperson of the Ministerial Taskforce on the disaster, Honorable July Moyo, some bodies are being found flowing in the Mozambican rivers. Most of the bridges in Chimanimani have been wiped away. Schools, roads, people’s livelihoods and homes have been destroyed and churches are being used as storehouses for safe-keeping of corpses. The survivors of the disaster who have been moved to higher ground have nothing to eat, put on and they do not have shelter. There is need to provide safe drinking water, food, tents, blankets, clothing, health care, buckets, first aid kits, and sanitary supplies for women. There also is need for the church to play a major role in giving post trauma counselling services to the survivors of the tragedy, supporting and giving a message of hope, burial services, pastoral care, and support.
The Zimbabwe Council of Churches’ response is concentrating on facilitating church response in Chimanimani, Bikita and Chipinge through the work of its Local Ecumenical Fellowships (LEFs) and pastors of the member churches. Coordination centers are being set up by the LEFs, and over 20,000 people who have been affected directly by cyclone Idai will be served through provision of food relief, clothing, temporary shelter. Local, trained ZCC pastors will provide psycho-social support and pastoral care. These emergency efforts will be incorporated into existing ZCC long-term disaster response mechanisms, including distribution of emergency relief materials to families, and disaster risk assessment for future disaster vulnerabilities.
Nick Mangwana, the secretary for ministry of information, confirms 89 deaths. Most affected areas are not yet accessible, with high winds and dense clouds hampering rescue flights. Two pupils and a worker at a secondary school in Chimanimani were among those killed. A boulder crashed into their dormitory. Soldiers helped rescue the surviving 200 pupils and staff trapped at the school.
Prayer for Zimbabwe (cf. Christian Aid)
Jehovah-Jireh, Jehovah-Rapha, Jehovah-Shalom,
God of liberty and righteousness, God of peace and truth, you feed your people on the mountains, by the watercourses, and in the plains.
Where there is hunger in Zimbabwe bring prosperity; where the economy has been ravaged, bring restoration and recovery. Let there be abundance in Zimbabwe and may all the people flourish. Amen.
We wish our partners every blessing as they work to address this latest environmental catastrophe. Support the Christian Aid Cyclone Adai appeal. Click here to make a donation now if you would like to add to our congregation’s special collection of £666.10.