Monday, February 04, 2008

The giants won but Zambia is losing...

We just finished watching the Super Bowl with some missionary friends on VCR tape delay! Crazy good game and crazy weird watching it in Zambia... Another first! Internet is still very shaky but thought I would just try to send a quick message out!

You need to read this letter to get a heartbreaking account of how things are going south of us in Zambia...
Dear Friends

We thank you for your prayers - we need them. If you don't have time to read
all of this now....then please just cover us with prayer (and print it out to
read later:-)) At the end of this report you will find a section "IMMEDIATE
PLAN OF ACTION"....please don't skip that part!!!

Yesterday (Thursday, 31 January) I met with Mr Apuleni (the District
Commissioner of the Southern Province of Zambia) and Mr Sokoloku (the District
Assistant Commissioner). They were able to give me information on the state of
the collapsed road at Sinazeze, as well as a report of the "Flood Disaster".

1. Update on collapsed road:
Mr Apuleni was himself stranded on the other side of the collapsed road when he
traveled from Lusaka to Sinazongwe late Wednesday afternoon. I am not sure
where he spent the night, but on Thursday morning he "swam" through the river
and then got a lift to be at the office for work - impressive, eh!!!! (He even
phoned me on Thursday to postpone our meeting from 10h00 to 14h00, because he
first wanted to get "cleaned up"!)

Work has started to repair the road temporarily. He thinks it will be okay for
us to travel to Lusaka by Sunday. He said I could phone him today (Friday) to
get an update again.

There is very little mealiemeel in Sinazeze, Sinazongwe or Maamba townships and
the Zambeef trucks transporting the new consignment of mealiemeel could not get
through. This is a miniature crises in itself, since it is month-end and people
want to buy food. There is no other road out of the Valley except this one....

We understand that some people are carrying bags of mealiemeel across the river
and selling it to desperate buyers at a very high price........

2. Report on Survey of Flood Damage 24 Dec 2007 - 31 Jan 2008
Some areas are still inaccessible due to roads and bridges that were washed away
and heavy rain that has continued on and off.

Continuous heavy rains for one solid week (from 24 Dec - 31 Dec) caused rivers
to flood, major soil erosion and extensive damage to houses, livestock, fields
and newly planted crops.

A total of 1,900 households were directly affected. Working on a conservative
average of 6 people per household, it means that at least 11,400 individuals are
directly affected.

Area of Survey:
Muuka; Mweemba; Malima; Nzenga; Nkandabwe; Sinazongwe and Mweezya.
(The most severely affected is Nzenga area (where BaJohn, our cook, lives) with
889 households directly affected. Second is Mweemba area - where Tessa's (our
evangelist and missionary) mom lives.
85% are now living in makeshift shelters;
70% suffered food crop loss;
90% suffered livestock AND food crop loss.

Pledges of Relief received:
* Zambeef - 200 bags of mealiemeel not yet delivered because of road collapse
* Anglican Council of Churches: 320 bags of mealiemeel and blankets.
* Satwat Transport: free transportation of goods to affected areas
* Red Cross: 100 tarpaulins (plastic sheeting to make tents) & food
* Christian Council of Zambia: nothing yet - waiting to hear from them
* Women for Change NGO: nothing yet - waiting to hear from them
* World Vision: nothing yet - waiting to hear from them
* Government: Repair of infrastructure e.g. rebuilding of the roads and
bridges, health facilities and schools that have been damaged.

Most Urgent Needs:
* Relief Food (Mealiemeel and Relish since there are no food gardens left)
* Blankets
* Mosquito nets
* Chlorine & Disinfectant - as a health precaution to prevent cholera etc.

3. Preliminary report on Flood Damage affecting our staff and pastors known to
us:
A. Komena Pastors/Students in need:
* Ps Siambede of Harvest for Christ who oversees the work at Bump. His house
at Kanyemba collapsed. Ps Albert bought plastic sheets to make a temporary tent
shelter for him and his family. (20 houses in this area collapsed)
* Gentive Siandogo of Harvest for Christ is a student at Komena. His house and
field were washed away.
* Ps Charles of Harvest for Christ works with Ps Oliver at Lusithu. His house
collapsed. He is living in a tent with his family.

B. Staff & their relatives in need:
* BaJohn (Longezia Cook); houses of his two wives and his little grocery store
collapsed. The house of his married son also collapsed. He has made a temporary
shelter with the iron roofing sheets and poles. They are 14 people living in
this shelter. The ground remains wet and damp and all their clothing is being
damaged by mould.
* Tessah (Evangelist & Missionary): her mother's house at Siabiaswi in the
Mweemba area collapsed; she moved in with her eldest daughter whose house also
collapsed. They are now living in a make-shift shelter. (30 houses in that
area were destroyed)
* Fanwell Malauzi (Evangelist & Missionary: his mother's house collapsed. She
has moved in with Fanwell and his family.
*END OF REPORT*

IMMEDIATE PLAN OF ACTION:
Our first priority will be to help our staff and the church leaders and Komena
students with whom we are in relationship. We are waiting for more reports to
come in through Ps Albert & Oliver and other pastors.

1. We ask that your prayerfully consider making a financial contribution
towards the "Zambian Flood Disaster Fund".

In the USA: please contact Nancy Long at nlong@mvusa.org
In the UK: please contact Rob Carter at rob@mvgb.org.uk
In South Africa: please contact Coralie Roets at croets@mvrsa.org

This will help us provide for the most urgent needs:
a. Food (mealiemeel & vegetables to make relish)
b. Blankets and mosquito nets (there is an increased risk of malaria)
c. Tents or plastic sheeting to provide temporary shelter

2. Please contact Elizabeth Ratliff at ear4africa@hotmail.com if you are able
to send a parcel with second hand clothing for adults, children and babies;
blankets; sheets; towels; toiletries.

3. Rebuilding of a "house" for BaJohn and his family: This cannot be done
immediately because of the continued rains. However, any financial contribution
will be welcomed! Our builder, Mr Nevvy, estimates that to build a 3 meter by 8
meter home will cost almost 1,000.00 $US. That will include a cement
foundation, all roofing sheets, brick, brick force, soft wire, timbers, roofing
nails, etc.

* PRAY THAT IN THIS DISASTER PEOPLE WILL TURN TO THE LIVING GOD!
* PRAY THAT WE WILL BRING A MESSAGE OF HOPE AND GIVE A PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION
OF GOD'S LOVE IN ACTION, AS WE ASSIST WITH THE PHYSICAL NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE.
* PRAY THAT WE WILL HAVE WISDOM AND DISCERNMENT AS WE DECIDE WHERE AND HOW TO
HELP!!

Thank you!
Yours in Christ
Theuns, Karin, Michelle, Daniel & Missionary Staff at Longezia

Thanks for the encouraging emails! We are blessed!

More to come!
Steve

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