Faith leaders call for urgent response to cyclone appeal
UK faith leaders including Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Abdul Qayyum, Chief Imam of the East London Mosque have urged people to support the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Cyclone Idai Appeal to help those affected in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
The cyclone has left a trail of destruction, killing hundreds of people and affecting an estimated 2.6 million people across the three southern African countries. Houses, bridges and roads have been ripped apart and agricultural land is completely submerged. More than 750 people are confirmed dead and 400,000 have lost their homes.
The British public donated £8 million to the appeal in its first day, the first £2 million of which was match-funded by the UK government. Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales have also made personal donations.
The faith-based charities Christian Aid, CAFOD, Tearfund, World Vision UK and Islamic relief, which are among the 14 leading UK aid agency members of the DEC, are calling on local churches, mosques and faith communities to support the appeal which launched on Thursday 21 March 2019.?
Dr Rowan Williams, Chair of Christian Aid and former Archbishop of Canterbury, said: “The cyclone that has swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe has left a trail of destruction. Hundreds have been killed, and the death toll keeps rising. The survivors urgently need our help. Hundreds of thousands have lost their homes, and crops and livestock have been wiped out just months before harvest. People have lost everything and are grieving for their loved ones.
“At a time of increasing disasters across the globe, it has never been more important for humanity to come together to support the most vulnerable. There is no better way of countering the rising climate of hatred and intolerance than a gesture of kindness to a stranger in need on the other side of the world. Let the response to this DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal be a beacon of hope for everyone. I urge you to support it as generously as you can.”
Bishop Declan Lang, Chair of the Department of International Affairs at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said, “In times of desperate need, we are called to reach out to our sisters and brothers and show we are standing alongside them, many of whom have lost family members, friends, their homes and livelihood.
“The DEC appeal is a way for the UK community and its members, including CAFOD, to offer support, compassion and love to families who have lost everything. “Cyclone Idai has devastated millions of lives and so many members of our global family urgently need emergency aid to survive.
“Just as Pope Francis calls for prayer and action for the families whose lives have been devastated, I ask Catholics across England and Wales to support the DEC appeal and keep the people affected by this tragedy in their prayers.”
Matt Wenham, Head of Key Relationships at World Vision, said, "Hundreds of people have died and more than 2.6 million have been affected by the disaster across the region. Homes and infrastructures have been destroyed, entire villages swept away. This is hindering aid deliveries”.
"The humanitarian situation is dire and these people need urgent help. We are calling on the Christian community, and those of other faiths to come together at a such difficult time and show their generosity. Even a small donation can make a huge difference.”
Nigel Harris, CEO at Tearfund said, “Cyclone Idai has left thousands displaced and homeless in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. People have lost loved ones, entire villages have been destroyed and there is severe damage to the infrastructure.
“DEC member charities and their local partners are working hard to reach those in the greatest need. Faith leaders also play an important role in locally-led humanitarian response, providing vital support that is deep, far-reaching and lasting.
“The need is enormous and the prayers and support of Christians around the world will go a long way in bringing comfort and relief to the families and communities devastated by the cyclone.”
Imam Abdul Qayyum of the East London Mosque said, "We have been saddened to learn of the sheer scale of destruction in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, which killed hundreds of people in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. During these difficult times supporting the Disasters Emergency Committee members to come to the aid of people left devastated by the cyclone is of paramount importance.
“As rescuers reach remote parts of affected areas more people will need urgent help such as food, clean water, sanitation and health care. And people will be traumatised for years to come."
Charity supporters are being asked to fundraise,?organise?collections and to pray for the hundreds of thousands of people in need of food, shelter, clean water and medical care. The money raised will help 13 DEC member charities responding to the crisis to reach more people in dire need with food, medical supplies and other essentials.??
The UK government has matched £2 million in donations through its Aid Match scheme and has pledged to match another £2 million.
This support will double the impact of the public’s own donations and will ensure that charities working on the ground can reach the men, women and children who have been left homeless and are in urgent need of food, water and temporary shelter.
To make a donation to the DEC Cyclone Idai Appeal visit www.dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 610, donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque. To donate £5 text SUPPORT to 70000. Texts cost £5 and the whole £5 goes to the DEC CYCLONE IDAI APPEAL. You must be 16 or over and please ask the bill payer's permission.
Stay up to date with developments in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, the emergency response and the fundraising efforts with the DEC on twitter: www.twitter.com/decappeal or on Facebook via www.facebook.com/DisastersEmergencyCommittee
Pictured above: An accommodation centre in Beira, Mozambique, where more than 200 families are staying in a small school, has been turned into a displacement centre. Picture by British Red Cross.