Heavy rains displace thousands in southern Africa

January 29, 2008

Jan. 24, 2008    


BEIRA, Mozambique (UMNS)* – Torrential rains that began Christmas Day in Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe continue to force thousands from their homes in southern Africa, according to United Methodist leaders in those areas.


Flooding in Mozambique has particularly affected United Methodist churches in Chemba, Buzi, Save and Nova Mambone.


The United Methodist Committee for Relief is working with Action by Churches Together and the Mozambique United Methodist Church to assess needs and develop a plan of action. UMCOR will address the immediate humanitarian concerns as well as long-term recovery needs.


Urgent support is needed for the communities of Buzi, Chemba, Caia and Machanga where many United Methodists live, according to the Rev. Jacob Jenhuro, director of the North Mozambique Conference Council on Ministries.


“In the communities of Buzi, due to the Buzi River and Machanga, due to the Save River, the water rose to the point that some persons had been evacuated to areas considered safe,” he said. Those evacuation areas are now in danger of flooding as well.


Jenhuro said the government of the Sofala Province reported that 1,843 were evacuated in Buzui, 4,000 in Chemba, 2,313 in Caia, and 1,055 in Machanga.

“There are still reports of torrential rains in our neighboring countries,” said Ezequiel Nhantumbo, a representative of the United Methodist Mozambique Initiative, an outreach of the United Methodist Missouri Annual (regional) Conference.


Zambia, a country sharing the same Zambezi River, has declared national disaster due to floods. This river will still pump a lot more water downstream, worsening the already deteriorated situation of the people of Sofala, TeTe and Zambezia provinces,” he added.


“We are in prayer for thousands of families left without shelter and food. As we are made of (the) same body of Christ, we are reminded to realize that when one part of body is in pain, the other part suffers.”


United Methodists can aid emergency relief efforts by contributing to “Mozambique Emergency,” UMCOR Advance #156500. Mail checks to UMCOR at P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY 10087, with the words “UMCOR Advance #156500, Mozambique Emergency” written on the memo line. Credit card donations can be made by calling (800) 554-8583. Donations are being accepted at http://secure.gbgm-umc.org/donations/advance/donate.cfm?code=156500&id=3018386.


*Information for this report came from the United Methodist Missouri Mozambique Initiative, UMCOR and the Rev. Jacob Jenhuro.