Partner churches ask for our prayers amid Cyclone Ana devastation

After the recent storms that have left families in grief after loved ones were killed and have seen many more people in Scotland and across the UK without power, we are all well aware of the suffering caused by extreme weather events. Today we are asked to keep the people of Mozambique and Malawi in our prayers as they struggle with the devastating aftermath of Cyclone Ana.

Carol Finlay, congregational engagement lead for the Faith Impact Forum has been speaking to our partners in the region and shares what she has learned below, while Very Rev Dr Susan Brown offers us a prayer.

a flooded village in Mozambique after Cyclone Ana
A flooded village in Mozambique after Cyclone Ana devastated the region.

Church of Scotland partners in Mozambique and Malawi are asking us to remember them in our prayers as they deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Ana, which has caused widespread damage and flooding.

The worst hit areas are Northern Mozambique, Southern Malawi – where we have colleagues and friends in the Evangelical Church of Christ in Mozambique (IECM) and the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Blantyre, and the island of Madagascar. Further north our other CCAP partners are also dealing with devastation caused by flooding and high winds. More than 80 people have died and tens of thousands are affected across the region.

Rev Dinis Antônio João, General Secretary of the IECM, said Cyclone Ana has destroyed houses, clinics and schools as well as devastating farmland. He asks that we prayerfully remember the church—already stretched as it attempts to reach out to those affected over a number of its presbyteries.

While weather effects such as cyclones are a feature in this area, there is no doubt that climate change is having an impact of the frequency and severity of weather-related events. Communities which are already fragile are seeing roofs ripped off buildings and homes torn apart. Livelihoods has been lost and crops destroyed amid torrential floods and raging rivers.

The immediate concern is for lives and the need to ensure people have safety, shelter, clothing and food. For the longer term, communities such as in Malawi and Mozambique are depending on our continued efforts to mitigate climate change. We all need to play our part in bringing climate justice through listening to the cries of our partners across the world and raising our voices to our governments.

The General Secretary of Blantyre Synod, Rev Dr Billy Gama says:

"Climate change affects everyone, there are lessons to be learned and COP26 clarified that we are all doing an injustice to nature, for example, through deforestation which allows flooding when rains are heavy. The trees give shelter to the roofs of buildings when wind comes – one problem causes another".

At this point in time, as our partners in IECM and in CCAP seek to support the communities affected, we ask for your prayers and support for them.

We pray:
In all the devastation and loss of life, comfort your people, Lord Jesus and hold them tight.
Help us to treasure our connectedness to all your people everywhere
And as we offer prayers and look for other ways to help where we can in Malawi and Mozambique,
Inspire us too, to see the place our own actions and inaction have in changing weather patterns
And help us to care enough to protect your creation as best we can.
For your sake.

The Church of Scotland is sending a donation to our partners to help with the relief operations and for their ongoing work in climate mitigation. If you are moved to contribute you can send your donation to Cyclone Ana, Faith Impact Forum, Church of Scotland, 121 George St, Edinburgh, EH24YN.

Photos and video used with permission of the Evangelical Church of Christ in Mozambique (IECM) and the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Blantyre.