In the first week of March, a storm system moved through parts of Malawi and Mozambique. It brought nonstop rains and heavy flooding. This caused homes to collapse and people to die in certain areas of Malawi. That storm system headed into the Indian Ocean where it developed strength and became Tropical Storm (cyclone) Idai. It turned back again and hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and parts of Malawi with great winds and rain, making international news.
Many of you have asked how we are doing here in Malawi and how you can help. We have taken time to assess the actual needs of our churches and areas of ministry and to learn what other aid is already reaching those areas. Eric and Mercy Mango live in one of the areas affected greatly in the first wave of the storm. There are many immediate needs in their area and they have written about that in a recent email update. The house they had been renting was damaged and they have had to find alternative lodging as a result.
We also have some of the local churches affiliated with Grace Ministries International in other areas affected. The national church leadership has given us a list of the greatest needs and has called for all the local churches to take up an offering to help their brothers and sisters in these areas. Their offerings will not be able to meet the great need, but it is encouraging to see them support one another. Sadly, in many areas that were hit, the maize was starting to dry in the fields and was destroyed. One of the greatest needs we have is for seeds to replace damaged crops of the people in one of our southern churches. In that area, they still have time to plant again and harvest. In other areas, there will not be enough rains to support another planting this year. There are at least 90 people in our churches in that area who were affected and 13 of their homes collapsed due to the rains and winds. In two other areas nine church members’ homes were destroyed.
We hope to raise funds to help supply plastic for those without homes as well as some new timber for roof structures, nails, and blankets to replace those which were ruined in flooding. We also want to supply some basic food and needed items for those who have lost crops, including corn and nourishing porridge flour. In the southernmost region, we want to help with seeds before it is too late to plant for the year.
Some of these needs are more immediate, while others may be more helpful in the upcoming months as food becomes scarce. We want to send church leaders to these areas to distribute supplies and to transport some of these supplies to the affected areas.
Because of the recent devastation caused by flooding in Mozambique and Malawi, Grace Ministries International is raising $8,000 to help as many victims as we can. We are trying to raise $4,000 so that GMI missionaries Eric and Mercy Mango can assist their neighbors in East Central Malawi. Already, nearly $2,000 has come in for this effort. In addition, we are raising another $4,000 on behalf of the rest of the GMI missionary team in Malawi as they work with national church leaders to identify and meet needs in the communities where our GMI-affiliated churches are ministering.
To give online to help those affected by flooding in Malawi visit gracem.org, click on the DONATE button, select “other” from the account dropdown menu and write “Malawi flooding” in the comments box. You can also contact the GMI office via phone (616-241-5666) or email (email@example.com).
In addition to the above picture of Eric and Mercy’s home covered in plastic, here are a few more photos of how they tried to hold their walls together.