News Release

Helping Hands bless Victims of Cyclone Idai

The night of March 14, 2019, Cyclone Idai began its devastating march across parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Helping Hands and donations from many countries are helping recovery from the destruction begin.

During the night of March 14, 2019, Cyclone Idai slammed into Beira Mozambique. Driving winds of more than 190 km/hr (120 mph), accompanied by heavy rain, devasted Beira rolling through Mozambique pushing devastation into Zimbabwe and Malawi. Winds, flooding, landslides, rain and cholera have claimed more than 1,000 lives, with many people still missing. Authorities estimate over $2,000,000,000 ($2 Billion) in property damage between the three countries. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lost homes and personal property as entire communities were destroyed but there are no known fatalities among Church members at this time.

“Helping Hands” of Church members and efforts from people all over the world are reaching out to alleviate the suffering.

Saints in Beira, Mozambique suffered great destruction from the storm and are not only caring for each other but are reaching out to help the community. Sister Maria Betina Mabunda, in a Facebook post said, “The Cyclone cares could not take the faith of the Saints in Beira. Guided by Beira Stake President Dickie, they are helping each other to reconstruct their houses, streets and surroundings in their city, cleaning all the havoc the cyclone brought. With a smile on their faces the Saints start to rise.” In his own Facebook post President Dickie said, “Our law is to work. Sweet is the work.”

Approximately 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) south of Beira in Maputo, Mozambique, Saints were blessed not to have been stuck by Cyclone Idai.  To help citizens affected by the Cyclone including their brothers and sisters in Beira, the Maputo Stake organized projects to provide much needed aid.                                                                                                                                                               

At their annual meeting recognizing the organization of the Relief Society, the Stake Relief Society Presidency asked sisters to bring donations of food, clothing or other life sustaining essentials instead of sharing cake and a party. Over 160 sisters gathered with their donations, which also included food purchased through donations from senior missionary couples from the Africa Southeast Area office. Remarks by the Relief Society Presidency reflected loving our neighbor. Stake President João Castanheira expressed appreciation for the donations and emphasized the importance of the Relief Society in sustaining both the Relief Society and the community.


Members of the Maputo Stake also provided “Helping Hands” joining with the government to help load 14,000 tons of relief supplies on a ship destined for Beira.


In spite of very challenging economic times in Zimbabwe, members of the Harare Stake, the Harare East Stake, the Harare South Stake and the Marimba Park Stake, donated several truck loads of supplies for victims of Cyclone Idai to local radio station Star FM. Star FM offered to deliver donated supplies to Cyclone devasted Manicaland, Zimbabwe nearly 400 kilometers (approximately 248 miles) away. 



Stake members collaborated with full time missionaries to arrange for the collection, transport and delivery of donations to Star FM. As missionaries began  delivery of the donations, radio presenter, Ms. Kudzai Violet Gwara, impressed by the delivery, interviewed the missionaries asking who was making the donations and why. Star FM station general manager, Mr. Comfort Mbofana, was so surprised and impressed he invited the missionaries to come talk with him in his office. When asked who they were and why they were providing such generous help, the missionaries answered, “we are missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”. Then explaining why they were helping, their statement represented what is true for everyone, regardless of location, who has contributed to relief from the destruction of Cyclone Idai, “…as disciples of Jesus Christ we feel one of the best ways to serve Him is to serve our fellowman.

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