As has been widely reported in the media, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Southern Malawi have been hit by a calamitous cyclone in recent days. What has been less widely reported is that, only a week prior to Cyclone Idai, another bout of devasting flooding had already hit Southern Malawi. So the government had already declared a national disaster, many thousands had already lost homes and crops and at least 56 had already died even before Cyclone Idai arrived. News from the worst affected areas is presently hard to obtain. However, it is clear the situation is desperate. The South African government and the UN are already offering practical assistance and the British government has pledged financial assistance. What can we in Birmingham Diocese do? At this point three things:
- Pray Here`s a prayer from Cumbria that you may wish to use:
O God, our refuge and strength, We ask you to look with loving mercy on all who are victims of floods, both near and far away. Be with them in their loss of home, livelihood, even of loved ones. Save them from despair and hopelessness. Give them patience and determination to rebuild their lives. Bless all who bring relief with gifts of aid, food, shelter, and friendship. And as the dove brought news of new creation to Noah, so may we, your church bring hope of a new beginning to those who need our help. Through Jesus Christ, who stilled the storm, our Lord and Saviour.Amen.
- Send needed items on the next container lorry (leaving Birmingham on 18th May). A report that came in after the first widespread flooding hit (but before Cyclone Idai) said:
`Humanitarian support is needed urgently for those whose houses and property are swept by the recent floods. Many displaced people need items such as cooking utensils, plates, buckets, clothes, blankets, sanitary and toiletries, and material for making temporary shelters. School children need exercise books, pencils, pens, rulers, and any other school items as many have lost them in the floods and when their houses fell down.`
Clearly the more items such as these we can send on 18th May, the better. For further information on the container lorry please contact Denese Ryan (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Paul Bracher (email@example.com) Click here for full details.
- In the fullness of time, the Anglican Church in Malawi may issue an appeal for financial assistance as well. Obviously we stand by to support any such appeal. Meanwhile, those parishes with partner parishes in the Diocese of Upper Shire and the Diocese of Southern Malawi could of course enquire of their partners whether any specific aid is needed. Meanwhile also, other parishes could, if so wished, send money to our diocesan accounts department for forwarding to the Diocese of Southern Malawi. We have complete confidence that Bishop Alinafe and his team would spend that money wisely in emergency relief work.
Another alternative is to give through Christian Aid who have launched an appeal. Please click here. They are encouraging churches to pray and hold a collection this Sunday. Emergency donation envelopes can be ordered by calling 0870 078 7788 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support.
The photo above was taken BEFORE the Cyclone hit.