Team members travel hours by boat to provide emergency supplies to families cut off by flooding.
One month after Cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique, Samaritan’s Purse is meeting the needs of villages isolated by unprecedented floodwaters. The storm washed away all access roads, contaminated water points, and destroyed homes—leaving hundreds of families susceptible to diseases like malaria and cholera.
Samaritan’s Purse responded to this dire need, traveling 50 kilometers (31 miles) by boat each day along the Pungwe River to provide emergency relief supplies to three of the hardest-hit communities. Team members distributed heavy-duty plastic tarp, water filtration units, mosquito nets, and blankets to 1,600 families in the Chissange, Chissene, and Chibwabwa villages over the course of three days.
The same school where hundreds of families sought shelter from Cyclone Idai’s devastating winds served as the distribution point for this emergency relief—providing an emblem of new hope for many families.
“They understand that the tarps are going to be gone one day but the hope that we bring with us and the hope of Jesus is something that stays with them for a lifetime,” said Paul Carr, distribution coordinator for Samaritan’s Purse.
“The hope of Jesus stays with them for a lifetime.”
As Samaritan’s Purse boats stocked with critical relief supplies approached the village shoreline, team members were greeted with singing and dancing. Families repeated the lyrics “I don’t want to turn back, I want to move forward” in their native language of Cisena—thanking God for providing help in their time of need.
“When they see people coming from across the other side of the world, and they see us bringing that hope with us, it really just lifts them up and brings them the hope to be able to get through another night,” Paul said.
Motivated to Praise the Lord
All 650 families in the village of Chissene lost their homes as a result of Cyclone Idai. Chief leader Matacipo Alberto Mangaia mourns as though each one of those homes was his own.
“It is too difficult to mention our big need because we have lost many things—our houses, our chickens, and our cows. Everything we had, we lost,” Matacipo said.
The cyclone struck the village by surprise in the darkness of night. “It was a terrible experience for me because it started when the sun went down,” Matacipo said. “There was the wind, and no one was sleeping. It was a terrible experience to see the trees falling on my house.”
As the village leader, Matacipo prayed that God would send someone to help his people. They had never received aid following previous storms but he had faith that God would provide in this time of need.
Boats stocked with Samaritan’s Purse relief supplies arrived at their shoreline soon after. All 650 families in Matacipo’s village received emergency shelter materials, water filtration units, and blankets from Samaritan’s Purse. “For me, I’m glad because I prayed that one day we would receive help from someone like you,” Matacipo said.
Samaritan’s Purse tarps will allow families to construct weatherproof shelter and blankets will keep them warm at night. Even more than the physical aid, Matacipo rejoices that Samaritan’s Purse comes in the Name of Jesus.
“That motivates me to praise the Lord because everything that comes in the Name of the Lord is welcome,” he said. “It will be helping me to pray to God because I know through this that there is a God.”
“I Wish that You Can Carry on with This Help”
After their daughter passed away unexpectedly, Mulapha and Marina Ignacio adopted their granddaughter into their home. Cyclone Idai struck their village days later—destroying that home and leaving them and their now five children without shelter, food, or clean water.
They were forced to construct a temporary structure out of grass and sticks. At night, Mulapha and Marina would use their own bodies to shield their children from mosquitos and the elements.
Samaritan’s Purse provided their family with a heavy-duty plastic tarp, a water filtration unit, and a blanket after arriving to their remote village by boat.
“For us it is going to help us a lot. Especially for my family,” Mulapha said. “We are going to renovate our structure at the home where we live. These things are going to help us—especially the blanket. That will help me and my wife to cover the children as they sleep in the night.”
When Samaritan’s Purse distribution coordinator Paul Carr prayed for people in the village to know and accept Christ, Mulapha was one of several community members to raise his hand. He was overwhelmed that an organization would travel across the world to help him and his family.
“Yes of course, I understand that you are coming here with the love of Jesus. I will join you as one who follows Jesus from today after I’ve seen what you have done,” Mulapha said.
He hopes that Samaritan’s Purse will use his village as a stepping stone to help others in his country affected by the cyclone. “With the help of Samaritan’s Purse, with everything you have given to us, I wish that you can carry on with this help so that it will reach to other people who are also in need like myself.”
More than 8,800 families have received heavy-duty plastic tarp, and some 1,900 families have received solar lights and blankets through our work. In addition to delivering emergency relief supplies to families displaced by the storm, Samaritan’s Purse has seen more than 1,000 patients through our Emergency Field Hospital.