News media Contact: Linda Bloom (212) 870-3803 New York, N.Y.
An early rainy season is causing major flooding problems in the provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane and Sofala in Mozambique. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) responded Feb. 11 to requests for assistance by approving initial grants to the United Methodist annual conference in Mozambique, the Methodist Church in South Africa and the South African Council of Churches.
UMCOR also needs donations to help it provide more assistance, including allotting additional monetary grants; flying a shipment of goods, with medicine, to the capital city of Maputo; and sending in two mobile plants and a technician/trainer from a water purification engineering firm.
The rains began in January instead of March, the usual start of the rainy season, according to information from Action By Churches Together (ACT), an ecumenical relief group whose members include UMCOR. During an 18-hour downpour on Feb. 6 and 7, Maputo and its suburbs experienced their worst flooding in nearly 40 years.
United Methodist Bishop Joao Somane Machado of Mozambique reported that 75 percent of the suburbs had been flooded. "Some of the houses are disappeared and some are in the water," he wrote in an e-mail message. "Some families have lost their relatives - Cholera is starting again, malaria is getting worse."
The floods also have affected connections between the northern and southern parts of the country, according to ACT. "In the central province of Inhambane, normally semi-arid, the rains are the heaviest in 20 years. The situation in Sofala province is also worrisome, because of the many rivers which cross it, and suburbs of the city of Beira are already flooded."
You can support UMCOR's response to Mozambique through donations to UMCOR Advance #156500-0, designated either "Mozambique" or "South Africa." Checks may be dropped in church collection plates or mailed directly to UMCOR at 475 Riverside Dr., Room 330, New York, NY 10115. Credit-card donations can be made by calling (800) 554-8583.