Mozambique - Cyclone Idai Updates

Report from Eugenio Balane, area director in Beira

3/27/19

Young Life – Mozambique Beira  

Report after the storm in Beira and in all the central part of the country

“First of all we want to express our gratitude to God for keeping us safe and alive due to the huge storm that happened in the last days. Once again God showed his love, faithfulness and mercy upon our lives. Also, we want to thank all the YL family and friends that has been praying for us since even before the storm begins. Thank you so much and we are quite sure that God answered all the prayers.

In fact the storm named Idai was very strong, with heavy rains and the wind was around 180- 200 km/h, and also there were very high waves in the Indian Ocean in Sofala province, and almost all of our leaders and YL kids homes were terribly affected. We don’t have much information now because there is no access to television but so far more than 446 people died in the province and the numbers tend to increase.

There are more than 300 homeless families; schools and university are totally destroyed which may affect very badly the school year. Most of the hospitals are roofless and almost all the victims and sick people are being attended in the only Central hospital, where there is patients even sleeping on the floor. We are starting to have diarrhea outbreaks.

So far most roads and streets are still obstructed by trees, trash, electricity cables and water. The main road that comes to Beira was broken, and because of that people couldn’t travel to another places by cars, but thank God it is already repaired. From this week there is power running in some areas of Beira. But most of us are still using candles and wells water. People have to stand in long lines to get bread, water, money at some few banks, and so on. Fortunately, this week some universities and schools have already begun to function, the least affected. The government is trying to supply tents and food for the homeless family, but it hasn’t been easy.

Our YL leaders, kids and their families are also in very bad conditions and some of them are being hosted in some of our homes or at least they sleep somewhere but come to have meals at our homes. Since the storms happened, we have been moving around to see them and just comfort and be together.

See below are some pictures and descriptions of how things look (these pictures were taken after trying to fix roofs and remove tree branches) as well as a testimony from one of our leaders, Marlene.

Marlene’s Miracle

Marlene is 20-year-old female leader who studies medicine and helps in one of our neighborhood clubs named Palmeiras. She was discipled and trained by Helena Novel.  Helena and Marlene are renting a small house with just one sleeping room and a sitting room in Palmeiras. Marlene loves the Lord and her energy is obvious for all of us.

On the day of the storm, Marlene had booked a bible study as usual with her campaigner girls. The information about the storm was not very clear to all, that’s why she decided to have the bible study anyway.

She went to meet her girls in one of their homes and they had the bible study there. The storm became stronger and stronger and Marlene couldn’t go home that night. They prayed asking Jesus to keep them safe and she spent the night there with them. Very early in the morning, she went back home to check on her house, and to her surprise and the surprise of all of us, nothing was touched by the storm (roof, doors, windows, anything); just a little bit of water inside the bathroom. Compared to the damages that happened to bigger houses, we consider this a miracle.

 

If you’d like to contribute to the relief effort for our Young Life teams in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi you can connect to this link*.

 

*Note about donating: It will be weeks, and more likely months, before we have a clear idea of how we should, as the mission of Young Life, appropriately respond and deploy funds to build, rebuild and reach kids during this time. We also do not know how much may be raised by this effort and how that will compare to immediate and longer term needs. What we can tell you is that if we end up raising funds in excess of rebuilding needs, those funds will be used directly and exclusively to build the mission of Young Life in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. We greatly appreciate your help. Most of all please keep praying.

Prayers Answered

3/22/2019

Friends,

Prayers answered today—the heavy rains that were supposed to pour all day stopped in the morning and the sun came out.

Our team is well. They spent the whole day in lines to buy some rice, beans, and oil that they will distribute to their team members, while we make a longer term plan.
Lina and the baby are doing well. We have made arrangements to get Lina’s mother to Beira to be with her when she delivers the baby and to help afterwards.

We received the video below from Eugenio and Lina that I will let speak for itself.

And if you want to contribute to our relief effort for our teams in Mozambique and Malawi you can connect to this link*.

In the Powerful Name of Jesus,
Steve and Dyan

*Note about donating: It will be weeks, and more likely months, before we have a clear idea of how we should, as the mission of Young Life, appropriately respond and deploy funds to build, rebuild and reach kids during this time. We also do not know how much may be raised by this effort and how that will compare to immediate and longer term needs. What we can tell you is that if we end up raising funds in excess of rebuilding needs, those funds will be used directly and exclusively to build the mission of Young Life in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. We greatly appreciate your help. Most of all please keep praying.**

Lina and Eugenio in Mozambique from Mike Knowles on Vimeo.

Talking to the Team!

3/21/2019

Friends,
The cell coverage is getting better every day, so I was able to talk with the team on the ground in Beira multiple times.

They are all doing well but the situation on the ground is dire. The numbers of displaced persons is in the hundreds of thousands with people sleeping on floors in damaged churches and schools. The flooding—as much as 6 meters deep in some areas inland, have hundreds of thousands of people at risk. Rescue teams are saving people from trees and roof tops.

Each person recounted to me the events of the night. Everyone just hunkered down in the far corners of their homes and kept shifting rooms as tin roofs were ripped off by the storm or as walls fell. The storm began at about 5 PM and ended about 5 AM in the next day. “The noise was so so loud—like a train in my house for 9 or 10 hours straight,” recalled Victor. “We were so so scared and thought the night would not end.” The heart of the storm hit at about 2 AM and lasted 3 hours. Victor said he piled all the furniture he could in front of the door to keep it from blowing in. Samito stood in his doorway holding his door for hours and finally his house gave way and they had to leave in the middle of the storm and moved to the school where his mother works—they are there still.

Eugenio and Lina have decided to have their baby in Beira. They spent the day yesterday in what is left of a hospital with their doctor who did a procedure Lina needed. The baby could be born this weekend or early next week. Because she is so far along Lina can’t fly and with floods and road closures, a 12-16 hours car ride on bad roads would be way too risky. They feel secure and confident and they like their doctor (and Lina is a doctor as well :)) Please pray for them and baby Jonathan.

We have a plan to get some basic food and water, as well as phone SIM cards and air time to our staff and leaders to get them through the week.

Eugenio said everyone who can leave is leaving. When I asked the team if any of them wanted to leave Eugenio said, “No—we want to stay. This is our home. Our families and friends need us. And our kids and leaders need us. This is the time to show our Jesus really loves them. Everyone is so discouraged—we want to bring hope.”

The team is praying and listening to the Lord on how to serve and love kids and continue sharing Jesus with kids in the middle of this storm.

Please keep praying.

If you want to help us help our friends on the ground in Mozambique and Malawi click to this site:
https://giving.younglife.org/CycloneIdaiRelief

**It will be weeks, and more likely months, before we have a clear idea of how we should, as the mission of Young Life, appropriately respond and deploy funds to build, rebuild and reach kids during this time.  We also do not know how much may be raised by this effort and how that will compare to immediate and longer term needs.  What we can tell you is that if we end up raising funds in excess of rebuilding needs, those funds will be used directly and exclusively to build the mission of Young Life in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.  We greatly appreciate your help. Most of all please keep praying.**

Thank you.
In the Powerful Name of Jesus,
Dyan and Steve

If you want some further reading here are a few links:
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-47631019

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-47638696

https://allafrica.com/stories/201903200710.html

How you can help

3/20/19

Friends,

Thank you for praying.

We had trouble getting communication today and did not learn much new. We did receive these pictures of our Young Life office which has been destroyed. Therein prayer request right now is protection tomorrow as the forecast calls for heavy rains and the areas are already flooded. Outside of Beira there are hundreds of little villages along the flood plains of the Buzi and Pungue rivers that are already underwater. In Beira I read a Red Cross estimate that as many as 90% of all the roofs in the city have been ripped off or damaged. Many people (including some of our staff) continue to live in their damaged homes with plastic coverings or in parts of the house with less roof damage. Please pray that the rains do not create more hardship. Pray for Lina and Eugenio and their soon-to-be born baby Jonathan that his birth would be safe,

Many of you have asked how you can help. We anticipate that we will have a significant financial need not only in Mozambique but likely in Zimbabwe as they are just now feeling impact as the cyclone moves west. If you would like to help us in the relief effort to help the staff, leaders, and kids affected by the cyclone you can click on to this giving site:

Give Here

It will be weeks, and more likely months, before we have a clear idea of how we should, as the mission of Young Life, appropriately respond and deploy funds to build, rebuild and reach kids during this time.  We also do not know how much may be raised by this effort and how that will compare to immediate and longer term needs.  What we can tell you is that if we end up raising funds in excess of rebuilding needs, those funds will be used directly and exclusively to build the mission of Young Life in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.  We greatly appreciate your help. Most of all please keep praying.

In the Powerful Name of Jesus,

Thank you friends,
Dyan and Steve

Good News from Mozambique

3/19/19

We have some great news from Mozambique.

I woke up this morning to a text from Angelo in Chimoio (about 120 miles from Beira) and I talked to him. He and our other staff, Zito, are well and all the leaders are ok, though many are displaced and sleeping on the floor at a local church.

We flew Celeste and Jose from Maputo to Beira this morning to get someone on the ground to find out about our friends in Beira. One of the cell networks is also now up so they bought a sim card they could use. They arrived in Beira today and by noon they called me and were with our whole staff team—Eugenio and Lina (and the baby), Victor and Samito. All had good spirits. They were safe. Both Samito and Victor’s homes were destroyed. Lina and Eugenio lost all their windows, but the rest of the house is in tact. They stored up some food and water before the storm hit and have enough for 2 or 3 more days. There is no food available and water is cut off. They did not know when food and water would be available.

Jose thinks his family is well and it appears all of our Young Life leaders are safe—however, a Red Cross report estimated that 90% of homes and buildings were damaged significantly in a city of 500,000.The phone connection was very bad and we got cut off after about 1 minute then it would take another 30 or 45 minutes before we talked again—so we still don’t have much on the ground information.

I had a brief conversation about if they wanted us to relocate them to another place. Because Lina’s baby is so close, we will likely relocate her to be with friends in the capital city where there is health care, food and water available (most hospitals and clinics in Beira have been severely damaged or destroyed and there is no power or water). Eugenio and the rest of the team said, “We need to stay here — people need so much help. Our kids need us. Our families need us. We can’t leave them now.”

We are trying to get a grasp of the situation on the ground and how we can best help. Remember how long it took Houston to recover from Harvey or New Orleans from Katrina? Imagine a storm just as big with as much water in a place where no houses or buildings were built cyclone-proof and no reinforced levies and without the weight of the US government and the national guard to help or the minute-by-minute news feed to the whole world. I can’t imagine what it will take.

Another big prayer request is that the dams are full and they will either have to release water on an already flooded land or the dams will burst—and the rains continue to fall.

We will have an opportunity for you to give and help the relief effort for our teams in Mozambique and Malawi. We want to gather more information first. Keep watching.

And most important—keep praying for the people of Mozambique and Malawi and Zimbabwe affected by the storm.

Thank you.

In the Strong Name of Jesus,
Dyan and Steve

Here are the links to a few recent articles—one from a lesser known source and another from BBC:

‘Almost Everything Is Destroyed’: Cyclone Idai Leaves Mozambique’s Fourth-Largest City in Ruins.  https://earther.gizmodo.com/almost-everything-is-destroyed-cyclone-idai-leaves-moz-1833374728

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-Africa-47609676

Pray for the Young Life team in Beira, Mozambique

3/18/19

Dear Friends:

We need you to join us in prayer for our team in Mozambique.  Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique hard on Friday-the main point of impact was the city of Beira where our key leaders Victor Simango, Eugenio and Lina Balane and Samuel Muchanga live and work. Lina is 8 months pregnant with their first child, due on April 19.

The biggest part of our Young Life work in Mozambique is in Beira-we have many leaders and kids there.  All communications and power infrastructure have been destroyed. We have not heard a word from any of our team there. Reports on the ground are very sparse. Over a hundred have died but as a report I read said, “that number will certainly go up.”  Some sources have called it “the worst natural disaster in Mozambique’s history.”  Water supplies are cut. Power is out. Communication towers are destroyed. Imagine Katrina or Harvey with no news, no US government and 1/100,000 of the resources to aid.

The cyclone also moved inland to a town called Chimoio and our staff Angelo Mahesse and the team there have not been heard from as well. Damage continued into Zimbabwe and flooding in Malawi where we have leaders and kids whose homes have been destroyed… We are working to get some of our team on the ground there to find our friends and assess how best to assist them and our kids and leaders there.

Please pray that our team is safe, that they have shelter, water and food and, if needed, medical care. Pray for their courage and peace in the midst of the storm. Pray for wisdom and opportunity to bring relief and comfort. Pray for Lina and Eugenio’s baby—it has been a pregnancy with complications and the baby is very far along. Also pray for our leaders in Malawi that have had homes destroyed or damaged in the flooding.

We will give you updates and, when we have a response plan, we will let you know and give you an opportunity to help.

Thank you.

Steve

3/18/19

Friends, for some more insight to the extent of the damage in Beira, Mozambique, please click on the link below:

https://apnews.com/83ae76a957154ea28fdfccf1e879110f

Keep praying.

We are sending two of our staff, Jose Tayob and Celeste Baloi, to Beira tomorrow morning to find our friends and help assess the damage.

Steve

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