Cyclone Idai: Presbyterian Church launches special appeal

Rev Dr Charles McMullen, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
Rev Dr Charles McMullen, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
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The Irish Presbyterian Church today launches a special appeal to its 600 congregations for those affected by the disastrous cyclone Idai in southern Africa.

The cyclone has swept through Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe causing severe flooding and major loss of life. Generously, the Presbyterian Church is sending an advance £60,000 to its partners Christian Aid and Tearfund working on the ground.

With an estimated 2.6 million people affected by the widespread devastation across the region, the risk of food shortages and need for clean water, food shelter and medical aid is imminent.

Presbyterian Moderator, the Rev Dr Charles McMullen, has written to all ministers and congregations across Ireland to launch the special appeal.

He said: “I am sure that we have all been distressed to see the reports this week from southern Africa of the devastating effects of Cyclone Idai, one of the worst tropical cyclones on record in the Southern Hemisphere.

“It is unimaginable what those affected must be facing. Large areas of agricultural land are submerged by the flood waters, destroying crops. At present, our thoughts and prayers are with those who are grieving loved ones, are still waiting to be rescued and those in need of emergency assistance.

“Sadly, the consequences of this disaster are likely to be felt over the coming months and years, with many people likely to be in need of food and emergency aid for some time. I know our church to be a caring and generous church, with a great heart for those in need and its people faithful in prayer and sacrificial in giving. I call on Presbyterian members and congregations again to respond to this crisis in a prayerful way.”

Irish Presbyterianism is also working with its church in Malawi, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (Blantyre Synod), which has been deeply impacted by the disaster. Two years ago in a similar appeal, Presbyterians raised nearly £700,000 for east African relief after the worst drought the region had experienced in half a century.

Over the past nine years there were seven Presbyterian moderator’s special appeals that raised £3.3million for various humanitarian relief globally.

They were: October 2018 Indonesia (tsunami) £377,000; March 2017 East Africa (drought) £693,000; April 2015 Nepal (earthquake) £660,000; August 2014 South Sudan (famine) £340,000; November 2013 Philippines (typhoon Haiyan) £500,000; March 2013 Syria (refugee crisis) £135,000; August 2011 East Africa (famine) £422,000; August 2010 Pakistan (flood) £600,000.