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UCC is sending aid to partners in Mozambique, Zimbabwe

The national United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ usually collect Offerings for One Great Hour of Sharing (OGHS) and the Week of Compassion during the spring.

As news of Cyclone Idai, the worst cyclone ever, hitting the southern hemisphere in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, the national United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ Global Ministries is preparing to work through local partner churches.

People in the conference and region congregations are invited to give extra gifts as part of those offerings, designating for: funds for recovery from Cyclone Idai.

Donations may also be made by going online to and giving to OGHS, or going to the Global Ministries website,

Marco Cable, the Africa Executive for Global Ministries, is in contact with the partner churches in the region.  Global Ministries which is a joint effort of the United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ has four partners in Mozambique and two in Zimbabwe.

One partner, the United Church of Christ in Mozambique (UCCM) has its headquarters and most of churches exactly where the storm hit.

The UCCM confirms media reports that Beira, an important port city of 500,000, is estimated to be 90 percent destroyed and many rural communities inland from there were simply swallowed by rising floods from several rivers, including the Zambeze. 

“Several days of winds, rains, floods and mudslides meant many people were still being rescued from rooftops and trees a week later and hundreds of thousands of people are much in need of everything,” he reported.

“Of first importance: food, clean water, clothing and shelter,” he said.

Devastation means no electricity, bridges and roads are washed away, the main Beira hospital is 60 percent destroyed, including the surgical unit. Thousands of houses destroyed completely.

“Help has to arrive by boat or helicopter in most places though as floods recede, walking will take some folks home,” he said. “Local fishing boats have rescued many.”

The chair of the UCCZ board wrote of the panic and confusion as the cyclone ravaged communities in Chimanimani and Chipinge. 

The church is rescuing people and recovering bodies marooned on islands with no food, clothing or shelter, trapped by mudslides and under collapsed buildings, and under water or mud.

“UCCZ infrastructure at the main mission centers of Chikore, Cinaa, Beaconhill and Mount Selinda, although affected, were not devastated and no loss of life has been recorded yet.”

Damaged bridges and roads to mission stations and damaged church buildings are reported across the country.  Electricity is off and there is no means of communication.

“The church is now shifting from rescue operations to relief services, collecting clothes, blankets, medicine, drinking water and tents.

“We trust God will give the strength to overcome, so that we can provide counselling to the bereaved and the affected,” said the UCCZ leader.

In 2017, the PNC-UCC and Northwest Region DOC Global Ministries Committee in the Pacific northwest hosted Kim and Eric Free speaking in many of churches, said Ruth Brandon of the committee.

They had worked in agriculture and with women and youth in that very area.

Retired UCC pastor, Ruth Brandon from Everett worked as a Global Ministries missionary with Mozambicans for eight years and, like the Frees, knows people there. 

A long-time mission area with a hospital, school and churches is in the storm-damaged highands area of eastern Zimbabwe.

Mary Stamp, of Westminster UCC in Spokane, visited Mt. Selinda when she attended a World Council of Churches Assembly in Harare, Zimbabwe in 1998. Members at the Cheney church, Willie and DeDe Gamon had spent several months there and gave her contacts.

Both Ruth and Mary testify to the mutual help church people in the devastated area give to neighbors, but even with governmental assistance, there is no capacity to meet needs for recovery this time without the world assisting.

Ruth heard from Anne Crane who served at Mt. Selinda for several years that the president of the UCC Zimbabwe reports that Mt. Selinda suffered “some significant damage,” but there were no deaths there during or immediately after the storm.

The death toll in Beira alone will likely surpass 1,000, according to reports.

At the time this was written, cholera, which kills quickly and spreads with contaminated water, had begun to bring further deaths and the whole battered region had registered over 800 deaths, Ruth said.

As flood waters recede more bodies will be found and more people who have had neither food nor clean water for will desperately need scarce medical care.

There are updates available at and check Africa News.




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