The devastating floods that recently hit Mozambique have prompted immediate aid from Anglican relief agencies and galvanized calls for debt forgiveness.
In Canada, the Primate?s World Relief and Development Fund, the church?s main foreign-aid organization, has provided an initial grant of $15,000 through Action by Churches Together. The money went toward providing emergency food supplies, shelter, water and sanitation facilities. Action by Churches is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies that meets human need through co-ordinated emergency response.
In February, heavy rain, followed by Cyclone Eline, inundated Mozambique, killing hundreds and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless. Thousands of people were trapped on rooftops, in trees and on bridges for days until help arrived.
?We are devastated and we need help now,? Bishop Dinis Sengulane said in a telephone conversation with the London office of the Anglican Communion. ?People have no homes, no food and even no Bibles. The hospitals are overcrowded. (People) are suffering from cholera, meningitis and deadly malaria. It is an awful sight,? he said.
In the U.S., the Presiding Bishop?s Fund for World Relief send a $25,000 US grant to the Diocese of Lebombo and said more will be sent as funds are received and needs identified.
In Canada, Bern Jagunos of the Primate?s Fund, said Anglican parishes and dioceses are responding to a call for aid, and contributions are being received. Action by Churches will assist with permanent resettlement for families who have lost their homes, crops, animals and other means of income.
The World Council of Churches has asked its member churches in the world?s most developed nations to forgive Mozambique?s debts, both to individual countries and to international organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.The initiative is part of Jubilee 2000, a united call by a number of Christian churches around the world to cancel debt owed by the world?s poorest countries. It refers to a passage in the book of Leviticus, which declares that every 50 years there shall be a ?jubilee? year in which slaves are freed, debts are forgiven and land returned to the original owner.
Mozambique, which endured a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 1980s but was rebuilding its economy when the floods hit, owes about $88 million US to individual nations and another $30 million US to international financial institutions, according to the Episcopal Church of the United States.
Government officials in Mozambique estimate it will cost at least $65 million US to reconstruct the flood zone, which lies in the most heavily populated and productive area of the nation, the Episcopal Church said.