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Helping Cyclone Survivors

Dear Friend,

When Cyclone Idai roared off the Indian Ocean into the impoverished African nation of Mozambique, close to a million people lost their homes. Towns have been wiped out, the water is festering with cholera, food is running short and families are desperate.

Idai was one of the strongest storms ever seen in the Southern Hemisphere, with winds up to 190 kph ripping the tin roofs off houses and rains so intense that rivers inundated entire towns. With nowhere to escape, more than a thousand people were killed.

LIfe after the storm: Thousands of families who lost their homes during the cyclone are now living in makeshift shelters framed with tree branches and covered by tarps we airlifted to
mozambique.

The floods have been slow to subside and weeks after the storm, some communities are still islands, inaccessible by road.
Samaritan’s Purse established an international lifeline with our DC-8 cargo jet making multiple trips to airlift an Emergency Field Hospital, plus tons of tarps, blankets, water filters and other assistance. We also used our workhorse DC-3 cargo plane, which is based in Africa, as well as local riverboats to distribute help to those who were living in makeshift shelters. We quickly cleared an abandoned landing strip so that we could fly tarps and other emergency items into one coastal town where 100,000 people were stranded.

We set up our Emergency Field Hospital in the coastal town of Buzi, where the local hospital was damaged. Our doctors and nurses are treating about 100 patients every day.

One of our first patients was a pregnant woman named Delfina who said that her family (including three children) stood in floodwaters for two days while they awaited rescue. “I was thinking that I was going to have to give birth in the water,” she said. “The roof of the house was blown away and then the water started flooding everywhere around.”

Lyndsey (from Australia) was part of the busy medical team treating wounds and providing compassionate care
in a town where the local hospital was heavily damaged.

When she went into labour, our Emergency Field Hospital was able to give her and her baby girl Estele the lifesaving care they needed. “I appreciate the whole team – in particular the nurses that attended me,” Delfina said. “I can’t imagine the way I am being treated – I have tears of joy.” As of early April we have delivered ten babies, and we are opening a second maternal ward to meet the growing number of expectant mothers.

Restoring Health: Families can get filtered water outside our emergency field hospital while our teams work to decontaminate wells and prevent the spread of cholera.

Buzi was completely underwater after the cyclone and survivors had to be rescued from rooftops and trees. Our medical team treated a woman named Juliet Luise who described how she had climbed onto her roof until the floodwaters swept her house away. Twice more, she climbed onto her neighbours’ roofs until those houses collapsed too. “I was so afraid,” Juliet said. “I thought that I would die. Thank you so much for coming to Buzi to care for us.” We have decontaminated dozens of wells to prevent the spread of cholera and other waterborne diseases. The storm hit at harvest time, so it destroyed crops in the fields, meaning that people may go hungry for months to come. We also distributed seeds and tools to help some farmers make a late crop. In the areas surrounding the towns of Beira and Buzi, we have distributed more than 14,000 tarps and treated nearly 4,000 patients at our Emergency Field Hospital. In addition, we have handed out over 3,000 water filtration systems and rehabilitated hundreds of wells and other water supply points. We have also distributed more than 40 tons of food in three-day rations of rice, beans, and oil.

It will take years for Mozambique to recover from this cyclone. Please pray for the survivors and our teams and church partners who are working nonstop to meet their needs and help them find hope in Christ.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Franklin Graham

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Our DC-8 cargo jet has flown four airlifts from North Carolina to bring aid to Mozambique.