United Methodists Issue Churchwide Appeal for Mozambique

Bishop Joao Somane Machado of The United Methodist Church in Mozambique
United Methodists issued a churchwide appeal on March 10 for donations to assist the estimated quarter of a million people displaced by widespread flooding in Mozambique.

The appeal, made through the denomination's Council of Bishops and General Council on Finance and Administration, also will be used to help flood victims in nearby nations. Funds raised by Advance # 156500-0 will be used to provide relief and rehabilitation for the general population and to repair and reconstruct church buildings and other church-related property.

Joaquim Chissano, president of Mozambique, estimates that 2 million people have been affected in one way or another by the flooding. In a New York Times report, Georgia Shaver, regional manager of the United Nations World Food Programme, said that 100 tons of food must be delivered every day to feed the 250,000 crowded into 72 makeshift camps, mostly in southern and central Mozambique. Heavy rains were hampering that effort.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Church World Service (CWS) of the National Council of Churches and Action by Churches Together (ACT) are among many relief agencies transporting food and supplies to Mozambique.

ACT Relief Supplies Arrive in Mozambique. Credit: Philip Wijmans, LWF/ACT Mozambique

On March 9, the UMCOR Depot in Baldwin, La., dispatched a third shipment of relief supplies for Mozambique. The 15-ton shipment, which will arrive within six weeks, is similar to one that left the depot a week earlier, according to the Rev. Bob Osgood. Among the items included are health kits, bedding packs, home care kits, emergency ration bars, dehydrated potatoes, oral re-hydration salts and mosquito netting.

Although delivery is not immediate, Osgood noted that the displaced citizens of Mozambique will need assistance for a long time to come. "Their food issues are going to be long-term," he said.

Bishop Joao Somane Machado of The United Methodist Church in Mozambique has requested special prayers for the people of Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane and Sofala. The United Methodist parishes reported to be most seriously affected by the flooding are Mambone (Inhambane North District), Xai-Xai, Nataniel Bahule and Chokwe (Gaza District), Sabie, Xinavane, Moamba, Matola, Machava and Liberdade (Maputo West District) and some areas of Mahlangalene (Maputo East District).

Carol Kreamer, coordinator of the Mozambique Initiative for United Methodist churches in Missouri, received word on March 6 that Cambine Mission Station was in good shape but lacked diesel fuel to run a generator. Chicuque Hospital also lacked diesel, gasoline, propane and food items, and could not be reached by vehicle because of damage to the dirt road.

The Christian Council of Mozambique has made plans to set up an operations network that extends as far as possible in flood-affected provinces. The council also is mobilizing church members to help distribute donated food and collect information about flood victims with special needs.

UMCOR is also appealing to United Methodists to give generously to its annual "One Great Hour of Sharing" offering on Sunday, April 2. That annual offering provides the financial backbone for the relief agency.

Checks for the Mozambique relief efforts may be written to UMCOR, designated to Advance # 156500-0. Checks can be placed 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.