Hundreds of rural communities were plunged into food crisis after Cyclone Idai tore through central Mozambique on March 14, humanitarian workers say. The Mozambique government estimates that more than 700,000 hectares of agricultural land were flooded, leaving many farmers with nothing to harvest.
“There have been a lot of tears,” said Joaquim, 45, a small farmer, as he idles past the small plots of land that hug the mud and stick homes of Nhampuepua, also destroyed by the storm. “Everyone is hungry.”
The cyclone ripped through his cassava crop from the ground, leaving the roots to rot in the field. The floods that followed washed away his maize.
Fulai Joaquim has enough food to feed his 10 children for another week, maybe two. Then, he says, it is in the hands of God.
These are the kinds of calls that reached Pastor Alph Lukau of Alleluia Ministries International. He says a call to serve God would be an answer through man. This has prompted the church to start a campaign that would get the much needed help and support to survivors of the disaster.
Alleluia Ministries International’s spokesperson confirmed that the organization has made over a million rands available in aid to get the needed medical and food supplies to the survivors and help Mozambique get through this trying time knowing the church of God and South Africa as a nation is with them in kind and in prayers. More than 60 volunteers will travel this weekend from South Africa to help with whatever is required.
As of Tuesday, Mozambique’s health ministry had reported 1,428 cases of cholera including one death since the outbreak was declared on 27 March.
Alleluia Ministries International has made contact with the U.N. health agency to aid and assist to facilitate more shipment of cholera vaccines. As the U.N. health agency has already shipped some 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine to Mozambique. All the vaccine doses have arrived and the aim is to immunize 900,000 people in a six-day campaign that started on Wednesday.
The storm could not have come at a worse time, barely a month before the main maize harvest, the region’s principal crop, ruined farmers say.
President Filipe Nyusi, who described the storm as one of the worst natural disasters in Mozambique’s memory, said during a visit to Beira last week that 100,000 agricultural tools and 1,000 tonnes of seed for short-cycle crops would be distributed to help get farmers back on their feet.
But residents said Nhampuepua, a 30 minute drive from Beira, epicenter of the devastation, said food and medical was falling through the cracks. The only aid that had reached there by Saturday was donated by a local petrol company and it would be the best place for anyone planning to help should be, they said.
Reporting by Ray Mwareya