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Mozambique gets hit with a one-two tropical storm punch

By January 24, 2012

Mozambique (MNN) — Powerful, dangerous Tropical Cyclone
Funso has continued to lash central Mozambique with flooding rain and damaging
winds.

The region is staggering from last week's swipe by Tropical
Storms Dando, a Category One storm with moderate to heavy rainfall. There are reports of 5,000 families displaced, a number that is expected to continue to climb. Tom Dudenhofer with Audio Scripture Ministries says, "They're pretty concerned
about this one because not only does
this particular storm have sustained winds of around 80 mph right now, but the storm
is also moving so slowly that it's going to cause very, very serious
flooding."

The storm took a lot of people off-guard when it hit southern Mozambique, creating havoc in Maputo,
Gaza and Inhambane. Dudenhofer says field reports indicate that "the damage appears to be quite
extensive. There were winds and lots of rain. It's the rain that has begun to accumulate
and flow down the rivers that has caused the problem."

Many of the low-lying areas were inundated. Says Dudenhofer, "We were in
the process of bringing a team into Xai Xai to do some of the internal work on the
new studio building there. The
rising waters have cut off Xai Xai from its connection to the outside world
and also stranded the team on the wrong side of the river."

The bridge connecting Xai Xai to the outside world washed
away, leaving a 60-foot gap in the road and effectively cutting off the region from fuel and food supplies.

Aside from government aid trickling in, the teams are still assessing how they can
provide the best aid. As of Sunday, ASM
missionary Chad Vandenbosch wrote about what pastors were hearing from Xai Xai. One church leader, serving a congregation
about two hours north of the city, shared that his church "was
totally destroyed during the winds of the storm this past week. Or the
call from the pastor that heads up a large ministry in central Mozambique. He
called to ask for prayer because in his village over 700 houses and churches
had been destroyed. Or the call from the pastor of a church in
Chokwe (about an hour from Xai-Xai) who asked for prayer because his village
and church were under water."

Dudenhofer says this is an opportunity for outreach,
too.  "One of the reports that I have
in front of me says that in one of the villages where ASM did a big distribution,
over 700 homes were destroyed by the wind. That doesn't even take into account the
huge amount of rain that's falling."   The churches know it, but they're completely
under resourced.  ASM is gathering more
information so they know how to respond. 

Vandenbosch writes that the government hopes to "install
a temporary bridge over the washout, but any idea of timeframe for that would
be grasping at straws." 

While the team is safe, Dudenhofer says they're asking you
to pray wisdom for their team. "Pray for some of the calamities that are
taking place that we won't even hear about for a while. I know that there are
many Christians, that there are many local churches that will do their best,
but most of them are very small and impoverished. It's just going to be a
really, really tough time."

 

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