(Photo courtesy of Chad Vandenbosch)
Mozambique (MNN) ― At least 40 people were killed since flooding in Mozambique started last Wednesday, January 23.
150,000 people have been displaced. Many survivors are trapped on rooftops.
One trapped woman gave birth on the roof of a clinic, and another baby was born on a house rooftop.
The floods came from the Limpopo River in the lower southern regions of Mozambique, a coastal African country.
Aid groups have set up relief camps for flood survivors. Patricia Nakell, spokeswoman for the United Nations, says the flood waters are still rising especially in the coastal town of Xia Xia.
Tom Dudenhofer with Audio Scripture Ministries (ASM) says, “We have people in Xia Xia right now that have actually gone down to the lower parts of the city of Xia Xia to look around. Sunday they went down to tour…. In the morning, the water hadn’t really started to pool, but by later that day it was rising very quickly.”
Transportation has been affected, says Dudenhofer. “The bridges and the causeways that normally are used to go out of Xai Xai have been already placed under water. One of the big concerns is not just the flooding, but the fact that the roads there are so susceptible to damage. So even if the flood waters were to go down really quickly, they’re still pretty sure that there’s been some serious damage to the roads.”
ASM has ministry in Xai Xai. “Our ministry facilities fortunately are placed high and dry,” Dudenhofer states. “So as far as our immediate equipment and our ministry center goes, they appear to be safe…. The issue related to our ministry is the shipment of digital players that are arriving in Maputo to the south of Xia Xia. And it looks like now that the guys are going to be cut off.”
Chad Vandenbosch with ASM is currently in Xia Xia. He shares, "We walked out onto the bridge over the Limpopo, and it was quite an amazing sight. The river that is normally just a couple hundred feet across, stretched as far as the eye could see. We could see just roofs of houses above water and small row boats still attempting to rescue people from the low lying villages."
“The serious flooding is not real common,” Dudenhofer says, “but it has happened enough and it was recent enough that the people were frightened and began to evacuate quickly when the first rumors of flooding began to come.”
Dudenhofer thinks they’re most likely going to have to wait for the flooding to go down. “They don’t really have big shipping boats for flooding situations because it’s a great flood plain so the water may not be real deep, but it wouldn’t handle a big boat.”
ASM’s ministry in Xia Xia has been growing over the past six years. They dedicated their recording studio in Xia Xia last September for putting God’s Word into audio for various tribal languages.
Dudenhofer says they have found a hunger for God’s Word in Mozambique. “Many of the people don’t read. Many of the pastors who minister in the rural areas, if they do read, it may be difficult for them and people have just been lined up sort of for a copy of God’s Word in audio. So we’re working as hard and as quickly as we can to both record many of the translations that are available, and then to make them available in the digital scripture players.”
The community may be struggling, but the local church is reaching out. “They are often reminded that they need more and that’s when their hearts turn to the Lord. Many of the Christians will be ministering to these other folks during this time,” Dudenhofer states.
Pray for the waters to recede quickly and for the people whose lives have been affected by the tragedy. Pray for ASM’s ministry and for the Gospel to bring hope.