Mozambique (MNN) – Cyclone Kenneth has left northeast Mozambique devastated. The cyclone came on the heels of Cyclone Idai, which hit the central area of Mozambique last month, and struck recovering Mozambique on April 25. Winds from the storm reached 140mph. Entire villages have been flattened, leaving people without shelter and exposed to their environment. The death toll has already reached 38 people and is expected to climb.
Second Cyclone Hits Mozambique
In this life-threatening situation, the only way aid is deliverable to isolated and island communities is by air. That’s where Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), operating as Ambassador Aviation in Mozambique, is helping.
When word reached MAF that another cyclone was aiming for Mozambique, the organization dispatched a disaster response (DR) team to assist their Mozambique program. MAF began conducting assessment flights on Saturday, April 27, just two days after Kenneth hit.
“Right after the storm passed we went up to Pemba and we did aerial assessment footage just to help people see the scale and the scope of the damage. And what was different about this cyclone, it was almost like a tornado. There’s a very tight band of damage, but it’s substantial damage probably 20 to 30 villages just pretty much flattened,” says John Woodberry, MAF’s Global Disaster Response Manager.
MAF reports the assessment team determined the cyclone “created a narrow band of destruction”, and described the damage as horrific. This team witnessed firsthand decimated villages and areas with significant damage “on the islands of Ibo and Matemo, the mainland coastal area directly west of Matemo, and the area of Mucojo farther north.”
Heavy rains following Cyclone Kenneth temporarily paused some relief operations. MAF had assessment flights and relief flights planned for Sunday, which were postponed. Then on Monday, the organization sent a relief flight to deliver tarps which did “reach the island of Ibo”.
MAF Delivering Aid
MAF is focusing on delivering aid to the islands just off of Mozambique’s coast. Woodberry says most villages on the coast are accessible by vehicle. Still, each day is different.
“It’s a dynamic situation with still some of the lingering weather. We’re paying attention because a lot of the rain can cause flooding. So, areas that we think now you can get to by road focusing on islands and areas that are really a challenge for agencies to support, there might be new areas that are super isolated. And so, we’re focusing on where can we be best used to bring the greatest impact and help because DRs is all about speed and saving lives,” Woodberry says.
MAF hopes to fly a medical team to islands along with food and shelter soon. Currently, the organization is focusing on the needs of those isolated. One of the most immediate needs is shelter.
People have no structures for protection, food stocks are gone, and medical care is urgent. MAF is working with organizations like World Food Program and the Mozambique government to deliver these urgent needs.
“We’re working with partners that are involved in that type of work. The challenge is a lot of people are still very involved down south because of Cyclone Idai down in the Beira area. And so, [the] capacity to do two cyclones in a month in the same country is stretching a lot of agencies. So, people are doing what they can,” Woodberry says.
Would you Pray?
If you would, please pray for those suffering in Mozambique. Pray for organizations like MAF to have access to hard-to-reach areas to deliver relief aid and transport medical teams. Pray that those serving the Mozambicans suffering from Cyclone Kenneth would truly be the hands and feet of Jesus. And please, pray that despite the changing situation, aid and God’s hope and love would still reach those in need.
Header photo of Northeast Mozambique, Cyclone Kenneth. Photo and caption courtesy of Mission Aviation Fellowship.