PEMBA, Mozambique (BP) — With Mozambique suffering its second major cyclone in the past six weeks, Baptist Global Response (BGR) has requested prayer for ongoing disaster relief ministry in the southeast African nation.
“Pray for the people in areas that are completely cut off, that have no access to food and shelter, and cannot communicate with those outside,” BGR stated on its website. “Pray for those who are responding to do so quickly, and to have wisdom in the best ways to respond.”
BGR, a Baptist relief and development organization, added in an email to Baptist Press, “The continuing rain causes concern for flooding, which leads to issues such as waterborne disease (cholera and giardia) as well as loss of people’s crops and food supplies. There is damage to cell towers, limiting communication. Destruction of a major bridge is keeping aid from getting to some of the areas that are now totally cut off. Due to lack of ability to communicate, the extent of the damage is yet to be fully realized.”
Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in Mozambique April 25 with the strength of a Category 4 hurricane, the Associated Press reported. The storm’s death toll stands at 38, but continued rain and flooding could cause it to increase. CNN reported 20 inches of additional rain could fall the week of April 29.
Between the initial cyclone strike and subsequent flooding, more than 35,000 buildings have been fully or partially destroyed in Mozambique’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, AP reported.
Kenneth struck just over a month after Cyclone Idai killed more than 600 Mozambicans and left an estimated 1.85 million in need of assistance, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.
As many as 100,000 people affected by Idai still had not received assistance when Kenneth made landfall, NPR reported.
This year was the first time in recorded history two strong tropical cyclones hit Mozambique in the same season, the UN Children’s Fund stated.
Following Idai, BGR began responding with water, sanitation, hygiene and shelter assistance, according to the group’s website. BRG responders “are now assessing the long-term response to Cyclone Kenneth.”
BGR executive director Jeff Palmer told BP in March relief efforts likely would rely heavily on Mozambican national Baptist partners, although “the center of our Baptist partners in Mozambique is in some of the hardest-hit areas.”
Located east of Zimbabwe along the Indian Ocean, Mozambique covers nearly twice the geographic area of California, according to the CIA World Factbook. Most Mozambicans speak one of several local languages. Only 10 percent speak Portuguese, the official language.
Mozambique’s population of approximately 30 million is 53 percent professing Christians, including 13 percent evangelicals, according to Joshua Project, a website that provides religion data on world nations.
While BGR is not an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention, it does heartily promote and endorse the Southern Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program. BGR’s partnership with Southern Baptists in meeting global human needs is fundamentally undergirded by those who give through their local churches to the Cooperative Program and to the Southern Baptist Global Hunger Relief fund.