SOUTHERN AFRICA: Torrential rains displace thousands; ERD responds

March 10, 2007

Torrential rains have displaced thousands living in Mozambique, Malawi and Angola. Heavy flooding has destroyed homes and crops and damaged schools, public buildings and communications infrastructure. The floods have also caused an increase in the occurrence of cholera and malaria. Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) is partnering with affected dioceses to provide critical assistance to vulnerable people.


In Mozambique, heavy rains along the Zambezi River are affecting the Sofala Province in Caia District, especially the Zambezi River valley where heavy rains from Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi flow down the river. In the Diocese of Niassa, flooding has destroyed homes; most are built from mud and have straw roofs. Traditional root and tuber crops, often the source of food during bad harvest seasons, were ruined.


ERD is partnering with the Anglican dioceses of Lebombo and Niassa and HOPE Africa to provide emergency supplies such as food, blankets, basic building materials and seeds for replanting.


Similar flooding in southern Malawi has caused rivers to crest. "Mbera is at the junction where the Lilangwe River connects with the Shire River. Our people have lost [personal] goods including flocks, crops in gardens and houses and most of them are sleeping in schools or churches," said the Ven. Justice Msini, acting priest-in-charge of the Lunzu Anglican Parish. In the area of Chapanaga, more than 600 people in villages including Mindanti, Nkadana and Lundu have been affected.


ERD is in communication with the Diocese of Southern Malawi and is prepared to provide communities with materials for temporary shelters, blankets, food, seeds and fertilizer.


In Angola, rains have impacted close to one million people in at least six provinces including Uige and Moxico. Bishop Andre Soares of Angola has called "all believers, parishes and districts to contribute in prayers and action to help the suffering people." Soares has organized a Diocesan Emergency Committee to "coordinate the emergency intervention of the diocese with government authorities and other intervenient."


Working with the Anglican Diocese of Angola, ERD is supplying critical aid such as temporary shelter, hygiene products, water, mosquito nets and medicines.


"Extreme weather has severely affected our partners, especially people left most vulnerable," said Janette O'Neill, ERD's senior director for Africa programs. "Through ERD's response, we are helping to provide essential supplies and also guard against deadly diseases such as malaria."


To make a contribution to help people affected by the flooding in southern Africa, please donate to the Africa Relief Fund. Donations can be made online here or by calling 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development, Africa Relief Fund, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.