“The people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe are still reeling from the massive Cyclone Idai that hit them hard in mid-March,” reports the Rev. Dr. Eleazar Ziherambere, International Ministries (IM) area director, who is currently travelling in Zimbabwe. “The cyclone has directly affected almost everybody associated with the United Baptist Church of Zimbabwe (UBCZ), an IM partner. I had to see it with my own eyes to believe it. The people are overwhelmed!”
This cyclone was one of the worst tropical cyclones affecting Africa on record, causing catastrophic damage and much loss of life, including thousands still missing under rubble and mud. The impact continues to rise as hundreds of thousands of people are in need of food, water and shelter.
IM responded quickly with an $11,700 One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) emergency relief grant to UBCZ. UBCZ put the funds to work immediately to purchase cement, reinforcing bars and labor needed to help build an emergency bridge to access an area that was cut off due to cyclone damage. They also purchased food, medication and the means to transport the supplies from the capital city of Harare into the affected areas. On Wednesday, Ziherambere was able to ride along with the truck carrying supplies.Bodies may still be buried in the rubble.
Ziherambere offered prayer and words of encouragement to the survivors this week. “I am deeply moved by the resilience and courage of the people I’ve met in Zimbabwe. Even in the midst of their grief they are moving forward with relief and recovery efforts,” said Ziherambere.
Ziherambere requests prayer for all the people affected by the cyclone, and particularly to lift up UBCZ leaders and members as they mourn their own losses, while at the same time seeking to provide leadership in recovery efforts from this catastrophic event.
Those wishing to support relief efforts can do so through their American Baptist church, or online or by sending checks directly to International Ministries. Please designate your contributions “OGHS–Cyclone Idai Zimbabwe” on the memo line of your check.
Checks sent directly to International Ministries should be made payable to “International Ministries” and mailed to:
Attn: Gifts Processing
1003 W 9th Avenue, Ste A
King of Prussia, PA 19406
One Great Hour of Sharing is administered by the World Relief Committee of the Board of General Ministries of American Baptist Churches USA. The Committee facilitates American Baptist emergency relief, disaster rehabilitation, refugee work and development assistance by establishing policy guidelines and overseeing distribution of the annual OGHS offering received by churches.