Church Organizations Mobilize to Help Devastated Africans After Disastrous Cyclone

People pass through a section of the road damaged by Cyclone Idai in Nhamatanda, about 30 miles from Beira, in Mozambique, on March 22, 2019. As flood waters began to recede in parts of Mozambique on Friday, fears rose that the death toll could soar as bodies are revealed. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

When Cyclone Idai struck the Southeast Africa coast last week, it swept away everything in its path, including churches, schools and homes in the Mozambican port city of Beira and beyond.

By Sunday, the number of confirmed deaths caused by the storm in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, already surpassing 700, continued to rise as churches, Christian relief organizations and agencies raced to aid the three countries most affected by the tropical storm.

After causing extensive flooding as a tropical storm, the cyclone — traveling at a speed of up to 177 kilometers (106 miles) an hour — made landfall on the Mozambican coast on March 14 and continued inland. On Saturday, agencies reported that the number of deaths had reached nearly 750 and was expected to rise in the three countries.

Last week, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said the number of deaths in his country could reach 1,000. Initial government estimates said nearly 1.8 million people were affected by the floods — including 900,000 children, according to UNICEF.

In Zimbabwe, the storm devastated Chimanimani and Chipinge districts in the eastern province of Manicaland, near the border with Mozambique.

“The situation is bad. Roads have been damaged in the landslides caused by the heavy rains. This has made the mountainous region inaccessible,” Khumbulani Ndlovu, director of integrated programs in Zimbabwe for the evangelical Christian aid organization World Vision, told Religion News Service in a telephone interview. “An irrigation scheme has also been destroyed.”

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Source: Religion News Service