Mozambique (MNN) — The World Food Program ranks Mozambique’s crisis at Level Three — the same as Yemen, Syria, and South Sudan. Mozambique took the brunt of Cyclone Idai, which also submerged neighboring Zimbabwe and Malawi. More than 600 people lost their lives, and the death toll is rising.
As recovery efforts enter week two, disease threatens thousands of survivors – some still stuck on rooftops – who are waiting for emergency assistance. Unknown multitudes are still missing.
Operation Mobilization’s Geoff Peters says in-country staff are busy helping neighbors. “Food security, things like…provision of safe, clean drinking water; there are certain things that are just basic essentials,” he states, describing the types of aid provided by OM teams.
“Our focus is always to assess what the needs are, and – no matter what [hurdles] might get in the way – do whatever we can to press forward and make sure that people are feeling the love of Christ.”
Idai presents opportunity for ministry
OM began training Christian leaders in Mozambique in 1989. Today, their ministry has grown to include translation work and church planting, as well as resourcing and mobilizing the local church. Learn more about OM Mozambique here.
When disaster strikes – as it did on March 15 – helping neighbors automatically becomes a top priority. “We start with relief and restoration, but long-term it’s recovery,” says Peters.
“How do we help people recover, and use this as a platform so that we can continue to show God’s love to people who are desperately hurting?”
OM’s long-term presence in the country lends them added credibility. “We are not coming in just because disaster occurred…. we’re mobilizing Christians there already,” Peters explains. People affected by Idai recognize OM’s workers because they are neighbors, coworkers, friends.
Part of OM’s ministry involves reaching out to already-vulnerable communities. Some 25,000 refugees have fled to Mozambique from neighboring war-torn counties. OM partners with local churches to surround refugee and migrant communities with respite and hope.
“We can come alongside refugees and share Christ’s love,” says Peters. “It’s a way of being Christ’s hands and feet for someone who needs it.”
Tragically, Mozambique’s forecast contains ongoing heartache. As floodwaters recede and officials gain access to remote villages, the death toll is expected to significantly rise.
Now that you know, what will you do? First and foremost, pray for Mozambicans affected by Cyclone Idai. Pray those who need immediate help will receive it, and ask the Lord to protect people from disease.
“When God’s children are in crisis anywhere around the world, it’s part of our family. Get on your knees, have that quiet time with God… and say, ‘What can I do?’”
As you ask God to reveal your place in this story, get in touch with OM. Learn what they’re doing to help and how you can be part of their efforts.
“Maybe what you have to give right now is finances. Maybe what you have to give is time, where you can rally other people to get involved.”
Header image credit Denis Onyodi, IFRC/DRK/Climate Centre via Flickr.