The Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) has revealed that Presbyterians across Ireland raised £242,155 (€274,500) for those affected by Cyclone Idai. The cyclone swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in March of this year. It caused severe flooding, destruction of infrastructure and loss of life, affecting around 2.6 million people. It was one of the worst tropical cyclones on record in the Southern Hemisphere, leaving hundreds of thousands of people in urgent need of clean water, food, shelter and medical aid.
An Appeal was launched in March by Rev Dr Charles McMullen, who was Moderator at the time. His successor and current Moderator, Dr William Henry, says, “I am truly delighted by the generous response to the Appeal by Presbyterian members and congregations across Ireland. Our Church has once again shown itself to be a caring and generous Church that has a great heart for those in need.
“In June, at our General Assembly, I was able to welcome Rev Alex Maulana from Malawi, General Secretary of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian’s Blantyre Synod. He was able to tell us, first-hand, how the Cyclone had devastated the region and how his Church had responded to the emergency.”
Tens of thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed by the Cyclone. Large areas of agricultural land were submerged by the floodwaters, destroying the crops. People are suffering the consequences of the Cyclone and will do for some time.
Funds raised by the Appeal were donated to PCI’s partners working in the region: Christian Aid, Tearfund and the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, Blantyre Synod.
Speaking in a specially produced two-minute video of how some of the funds raised by the Appeal are being used in Mozambique, one recipient explained that the cyclone hit during the night causing much damage, destroying all that she had.
Talking of the help that PCI had given through its partners she said, “I just want to say I’m grateful, and I thank you for the support and the help that you have given us. We didn’t have food, we were in big trouble…we didn’t have anything, but you supported us.”
Rev Uel Marrs, PCI Global Mission Secretary, travelled to Mozambique in August to visit projects run by Tearfund, one of PCI’s development partners, which will benefit from the funds raised.
“Six months after the Cyclone, many of those impacted are still dealing with trauma and loss. There remains a mammoth task to repair houses, schools and churches,” he said.
He added, “Visiting the coastal city of Beira, the skyline continues to be dotted here and there with blue tarpaulins. Each one of those is the tell-tale sign of a roof still needing to be replaced. Further inland, in rural areas, bridge reconstruction is ongoing and farmers are working hard to salvage a livelihood from the land. My lasting memory, however, is the people themselves, their resilience, and warm appreciation for all who, having supported this Moderator’s Appeal, continue to stand with them.”