‘Thank you for your hands’
Many people from Buzi were rescued and brought to makeshift shelters like the government-run training center overseen by Georgina Alfredo. She is the director of the center for public administration in Beira.
At the height of evacuations, the center held more than 2,000 people. Most of the people from Buzi have returned home, Alfredo said. A young woman working at the shelter said there was one woman left from Buzi who did not want to go home because she lost a son in the storm.
In addition to housing and feeding the families, administrators also provide grief and psychological help.
“They are allowed to stay here until the waters recede but this is not their final home,” Alfredo said. She said people would get a two-week food kit when they leave.
Children play among rows of tents at an evacuation shelter for survivors of Cyclone Idai at the IFAPA training center in Beira.
Survivors of Cyclone Idai are caught in a sudden rain shower at the IFAPA training center in Beira.
Alfredo said the local United Methodist church in the Sofala District was the first to step in and support the sheltered people.
“Thank you for your hands, thank you for the spiritual and material support,” Alfredo said to the Revs. Jacob Jenhuro, episcopal assistant in the Mozambique North Conference, and João Sambo, pastor of Malanga 2 United Methodist Church.
Alfredo said the church’s support opened the doors for other organizations to come to their aid.
On the first day they had over 1,000 people, and all the food they had on hand was 500 kilograms of rice and 250 kilograms of beans.
“We couldn’t see how to feed all these people. The United Methodist Church stepped in to help and filled that need the same afternoon,” she said.
Since then, they have been able to provide three meals a day.
Survivors of Cyclone Idai return to their tents after being caught in a sudden rain shower at the IFAPA training center in Beira.
“By God’s grace, we have had no incidents of cholera and we have not lost any lives,” she said.
In fact, she said, they have had four babies born in the center. “The first one was given my name,” she said, laughing.
Respeito Chirrinze, Mozambique episcopal area disaster management coordinator, said that the United Methodist Committee on Relief has provided a $10,000 grant to provide food and sanitation to areas affected by Cyclone Idai. UMCOR has helped 180 families in Nicoadala in the resettlement center of Dicudiwa; 37 families in the United Methodist Church Mozambique Training Center in Dondo District in Manica Province and 35 people at the Dondo Orphanage, he said.