How SIM has responded to the impact of Cyclone Idai

Thursday, 4 April 2019 How SIM has responded to the impact of Cyclone Idai On 14-15th March 2019, Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, causing catastrophic damage to all three countries. Although the media spotlight has moved on from southern Africa, the region is still in desperate need of support from around the world. 

The UN has said that when the full extent of damage is known, Cyclone Idai could be classified as the most severe weather-related disaster recorded in the southern hemisphere. As well as hundreds of thousands of people being forced to flee their homes because of the floodwaters, many are in desperate need of food, water, clothing, shelter and medicine. As aid workers begin to navigate the difficult conditions to deliver relief, there have already been outbreaks of cholera and malaria.

The number of people declared dead from this cyclone has reached over 700, however, this figure is expected to rise with hundreds injured and many more unaccounted for. An estimated 2.5 million people are said to be affected across southern Africa. SIM has been working with various international and local partners to provide aid to areas affected in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. 

SIM Malawi has been working with church and para-church partners to bring relief to victims in southern parts of the country. There are currently 34 camps in the Chikhwawa District that are sheltering people from around 16,000 displaced households. SIM Malawi is working with one of its partners to provide food parcels to one of the smaller camps, which is sheltering 218 displaced households. As SIM Malawi receives further financial support, they will look to provide more food and other aid, such as blankets and household items, to help alleviate the immediate needs. 

Malawi Country Director, Mike Hammond, said, “Whilst we need to look at the immediate future, there is a longer-term problem, as it is expected that much of the maize crop in the south of the country, which was soon due to be harvested, will have been destroyed or severely damaged. This will bring a potentially greater problem later in the year but for now, we are looking to help people in their immediate need. While we are doing this, we are also praying for our colleagues in Mozambique and Zimbabwe who were hit more recently by Cyclone Idai which has devastated significant parts of both countries as well as affecting southern Malawi.”

In Mozambique, the SIM team have been working alongside other agencies, churches and businesses in the area to identify needs, gather resources and deliver aid to the affected areas. The relief supplies SIM Mozambique has sent includes clothing, 400 bags of maize flour, 400 kilograms of sugar, three metric tonnes of beans and 750 kilograms of rice for the cities of Lichinga and Cuamba in the Niassa province. Future financial gifts to SIM Mozambique will go towards sending another truck full of relief supplies. Timothy George, treasurer and administrator for SIM Mozambique, has been inspired by the way people from around the world are supporting those affected. “It’s great to see the unity of the churches and the organizations coming together to help,” he said. Despite the pain and heartache those affected are experiencing, Timothy hopes that God’s love would shine through the aid that is delivered to victims. “The prayer is that God’s Word, God’s truth, God’s glory and honour would be proclaimed through the acts of people that are loving people… [and] coming to their aid even though they’ve never met before,” he said.

SIM Zimbabwe has partnered with the Red Cross and other local partners to provide food, sanity wear, school materials and also repair one bridge that links five communities to the rest of the country. SIM Zimbabwe committed to providing 400 households with maize meal, chunks, cooking oil and salt. They also are assisting with repairing one bridge that will link 1500 children, 80 teachers and 5 immediate communities to a main highway that connects to the rest of the country. 

Last week, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed thanked all local, national and international responder for saving “countless lives” and “preventing an even more devastating outcome”. Thank you to all those who have partnered with SIM Australia’s Emergency Relief Fund (068001). Your gift has enabled SIM to provide much-needed relief to communities that have been affected. Together, we can show the compassion of Christ to the most vulnerable in the world.  
If you haven’t already given, it is never too late to offer your support to those who have been forced to rebuild their lives due to this natural disaster. You can give to the Emergency Relief Fund (068001) here

Photos: SIM Mozambique 
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