Update on Cyclone Idai Response

23 March 2019

Cyclone Idai is being called the worst storm to ever strike the southern hemisphere, affecting hundreds of thousands of people in Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa. ACT members are preparing responses to the humanitarian crisis.
Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe. Photo credit: ACT Zimbabwe Forum

Today we hold before God all those in southern Africa who are living with the dire impacts of Cyclone Idai. Heavy rain and flooding have devastated large areas of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, leaving many – possibly thousands – dead and many more facing unimaginable loss.

Details of how you can support the churches’ response are given below. 

The Rt Revd.Carlos Matsinhe, Bishop of the Diocese of Lebombo in Mozambique, wrote earlier this week,“‘Comfort, comfort my people, says the Lord’ Is. 40:1

“The central part of Mozambique (Sofala, Manica and Tete Provinces) have been severely hit by a cyclone last Thursday evening through the whole night. There has been a lot of destruction of all sorts of buildings. Many people have been left with no shelter and no food. Consequently health conditions of the people will deteriorate soon. And because this storm has damaged power lines there is no communication so we know very little of the details of destruction. The cyclone has also claimed some lives and injuries.”

Bishop Matsinhe seeks the prayers of the Anglican family at this terrible time saying, “Really just now we need your prayers over the situation. Our Púngue Archdeaconry covers exactly the area most affected. Pray for the eleven parishes/Pastoral zones and their parish priests and lay ministers as they seek wisdom to minister and comfort with God’s word and presence.”

Update on 23 March


In recent days Bishop Matsinhe has been able to visit the most impacted area, Beira, on a fact finding mission. He reported: “From the contacts with other institutions and NGOs I am convinced that in a few days there will be enough food supply for the emergency although we do not know how long the emergency will last. Internal solidarity is growing as is the international one. But more than the supplies is the need for service capacity. I have noted in Beira that the health sector has pulled together health workers from different provinces to come and help in Beira. Also a number of national and international NGOs are building joint efforts to respond to the crisis.”

Bishop Matsinhe emphasises the need to focus Anglican efforts on the recovery: “At this point it is important to think and plan the post emergency phase.”

He highlights the need for collaboration with other institutions and the mobilisation of local Anglican resources including food aid.  He noted the generous contributions of individual church members. “The first lot was shipped today comprising of 1,3ton of rice, 1,07ton of maize meal, sugar, soap and clothes,” he said. The Bishop also cited the need for funds for school materials and restoring school buildings, for health protection activities, for support to families in rebuilding their homes, agriculture and livestock, as well as restoring damaged churches.


The Diocese of Southern Malawi within the Province of Central Africa has also suffered terrible impact from the cyclone.

The Rt Rev’d Alinafe Kalemba, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Southern Malawi, has updated the Anglican Alliance on the situation in his diocese.

“The situation is still bad, in all our seven administrative districts, within our Diocesan jurisdiction. We have been massively affected, lives lost, property, crops, livestock, houses and a lot washed away. Even our church structures demolished. It’s just pathetic. It will take long to stabilize the situation.

“Government and other agencies have started helping. We have made local appeals among our parishes for anything that can support the situation: food, clothes, kitchen utensils, plastic sheets, timber for firewood, anything. The response is good as we have linked rural to urban parishes. As we minister in these areas, we are not only targeting/helping our parishioners but everyone in need. We have opened our church buildings as shelter in some places.”

Bishop Kalemba explained that the Diocese’ Disaster and Relief Committee is compiling a proposal with plans for immediate relief and long-term recovery.


Areas of Zimbabwe have also been severely impacted by Cyclone Idai. Rt Revd Erick Rumona, Bishop of the Diocese of Manicaland in Zimbabwe also within the Province of Central Africa, wrote to the Anglican Alliance:

“Thank you for your concern, prayers and solidarity. The effects of Cyclone Idai were devastating and resulted in loss of lives. The death toll continues to rise rapidly as the rains has slowed down. This morning the death toll was at 161. Which is estimated to double as the most affected areas are accessed.”

Bishop Rumona described how the Anglican Relief and Development in Zimbabwe (ARDeZ), the development wing of the Anglican Diocese of Manicaland, is leading on the response. “Urgent assistance is needed to ensure that the survivors of this disaster are well taken care of as they recover from this traumatic incident,” Bishop Rumona said. The Diocese is looking to respond to basic human needs, including ensuring food, medical needs, as well as longer term recovery. It is working with the Government, civil society, the Red Cross Society and others in its response.

Anglican Alliance response

Revd. Rachel Carnegie, the Executive Director of the Anglican Alliance, says, “The crisis is huge. But as the Anglican Alliance we have the privilege of being in touch with the local Church at this time and hearing how people on the ground are responding”.

She continued, “We have spoken with the Director of Hope Africa, the Social Development Programme of the Province of Southern Africa, and also with the bishops in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe. So we know the situation on the ground is dire, but I also want to emphasise the extraordinary resilience that we see in the local churches. Many of those churches already have disaster management committees and are beginning to mobilise their resources. Likewise, the local Mothers’ Union are actively responding with their own resources right here and now”.

Several of the relief, development and mission agencies around the Communion have launched appeals, as well as some of the companion links that have special relationships with dioceses in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Details of how you can donate to the response are provided below.

Dr Janice Proud, the Anglican Alliance’s Disaster Response and Resilience Manager, said, “The Anglican Alliance’s role is to help make this a more coordinated process so the Church on the ground only needs to make one response and doesn’t have to be dealing with requests from every side. This way they can focus on their local communities and put their energy into meeting the needs on the ground. The Anglican Alliance stands ready to host conference calls so local churches and international church partners can talk together, as is our usual practice”.

The main message from Hope Africa is that the role of the Church is about recovery. The Church is there before, during and after the disaster. So at the point when the floods have receded but homes and crops have been destroyed, the Church is there to help make steady progress towards long-term recovery.  So as well as the need for food and water purification, there will also be need for seeds and agricultural equipment so people can get their home gardens going and agriculture up and running. Above all, the Church will be helping to build resilience and a sense of hope.


Below are some of the agencies through which you can donate to the response Cyclone Idai. We will update this list as more information becomes available.

Hope Africa – please indicate for ‘Cyclone Idai appeal’

Anglican Church of Southern Africa Disaster Appeal Fund

Anglican Board of Mission, Australia

Episcopal Relief & Development. Donations to the International Disaster Response Fund will help Episcopal Relief & Development respond to this crisis.

Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund



Anglican Overseas Aid

Christian Aid


Anglican Missions, Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia