The mountains have burst: Zimbabwe under Cyclone Idai
By Brian Heffron, SIM SASC media coordinator | Zimbabwe in Southern Africa
When the floods came to Chimanimani, it was as if the mountains exploded.
“The people said, ‘the mountains have burst,’” said SIM Zimbabwe Director Caiphas Ngarivhume, referring to the rockslides caused 15 March by Cyclone Idai.
The rains and flooding in neighbouring Mozambique primarily happened in low-lying flatlands. But in Zimbabwe, the brunt of the storm hit the southeast’s mountainous regions. Caiphas described torrents of rain washinf down mountainsides, carrying rocks and mud as they channelled into valleys, destroying homes and infrastructure. Flood waters decimated utilities and mobile phone boosters, and left roads completely impassable
In some areas, floods quickly rose to the roofs of houses, trapping many people inside while they slept. Some of those who awoke and tried to escape were swept away in the raging floods. Survivors were rescued from rooftops and rafters, tree branches and spots of higher ground. Hundreds have died, and thousands are homeless.
Caiphas said that SIM Zimbabwe will receive help from the SIM Disaster Relief Fund. This has allowed them to partner with the Red Cross to help in three main ways: food aid; sanitary supplies for women and girls; and school materials for students.
Separately, they will also help rebuild a bridge in Biriiri, one of SIM’s first mission stations in Zimbabwe. The site is now run by the local church; nearby are a high school for about 800 students and 40 teachers, a primary school serving about 600 students and 30 teachers, and a community of about 2000 more people. Caiphas said all of them depend on that bridge to reach the main road that connects to the rest of the country. He said the church and school are also contributing to the cost of materials and labour.
“This is one of, I think, about a dozen bridges that have been destroyed in that part of the country, so the need for bridge reconstruction is pretty high,” Caiphas said, adding that he selected the bridge at Biriiri partly because he thinks the government will prioritise others that serve larger communities first.
“In a big way, the whole thing has kind of made people to think more serious about God and to realise that all that we do in this life is really meaningless; it can just end abruptly. You think you really were someone, and yet, when God just wills it, you lose everything in this. So, it has tended to draw people closer to God, there are a lot of prayers that have been made different places,” Caiphas said.
SIM’s Disaster Relief Fund exists to provide help to SIM workers and their ministries in areas affected by such events.
To donate to the Disaster Relief Fund #88600, please click on the button below, where you will directed to the donation page.
- relief aid to reach the injured and homeless as quickly as possible.
- SIM workers to be able to show the love of Christ in all they do to help those affected and as they partner with others to deliver aid.
- God’s mercy in a situation which has devastated so many lives.