You have probably heard that on March 14, Cyclone Idai struck a terrible blow to Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Neighboring Mozambique - which has a population of around 30 million - was hit hardest, with tens of thousands of homes destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people displaced across an area of some 1,200 square miles - roughly the size of Rhode Island.
The storm weakened as it spun inland, but still wreaked devastation. Kuda Vana is just 25 miles or so from the border of Mozambique, and we are lucky to have only sustained heavy winds and rain which filled the nearby reservoir to bursting. Our local Director, William Pepukai sent this update for Kuda Vana’s supporters:
“We have had a very sad month due to the cyclone which hit our country and our neighbors. Thousands of people are feared dead. Our government did nothing in terms of preparedness against the cyclone. More lives could have been saved.
Cyclone Idai hit the eastern parts of Zimbabwe on the night of March 15, killing hapless people. A lot of townships were wiped away leaving beds of stones as shown in the photos I have attached. This cyclone is feared to be the worst weather-related disaster to have hit the southern part of the world.
Survivors of this disaster need assurance of God’s love through support in the form of shelter, food, health, clothes and roads and schools’ rehabilitation. Cyclone Idai has compounded more woes to the people of this country who are already facing serious drought and economic crisis.”
As of Tuesday, at least 686 people across the three affected countries had been reported killed by the storm, the flooding it caused and heavy rains before it hit. United Nations officials estimate that more than 35,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed, and nearly 2 million people have been affected. Most alarmingly, the storm hit just before crops could be harvested, and with thousands upon thousands of acres destroyed the storm has put an already critical food storage into a tailspin.
Increasingly, relief efforts have turned to preventing or containing what many believe will be inevitable outbreaks of malaria and cholera. Though no cholera cases have yet been confirmed, health workers on the ground have reported an upsurge in cases of diarrhea - a symptom of the disease. According to March 26 recent Reuters report, the WHO is dispatching 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine from a global stockpile. The shipment is expected to arrive within 10 days, and a first round of vaccinations will target 100,000 people. Cholera is spread by sewage-contaminated water or food, and outbreaks can develop quickly in a humanitarian crisis where sanitation systems are disrupted. It can kill within hours if left untreated.
We ask that you continue to pray for all affected by this storm, and for the aid workers who are on the ground trying their best to help. Kuda Vana has been blessed because of your support, and within days of the storm our staff coordinated donations of bulk food to Red Cross workers in the area.