For nearly 25 years, Heidi and Rolland Baker have served the nation of Mozambique faithfully. When Cyclone Idai struck earlier this month, their Iris Global ministry was equipped to serve immediately.
"In the last few days, a massive cyclone has ripped through the center of our nation, destroying nearly 90 percent of the city of Beira and all the surrounding villages," Heidi says in a video posted to Facebook.
According to The Weather Channel, the situation in Mozambique remains "dire," with children clinging to rooftops.
The United Nations Food Agency says the emergency is getting "bigger by the hour."
"People are absolutely desperate. Over a thousand people have lost their lives. There are bodies floating in the water. We sent a team before this cyclone hit from Iris Relief. They are on the ground ... being the hands and the feet and the heart of Lord right now in this crisis," Heidi says.
The flooding reportedly resembles "inland oceans."
According to the United Nations:
"We are talking about a massive disaster right now where hundreds of thousands—in the millions of people—(are) potentially affected," said Jens Laerke from the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). "We need all the logistical support that we can possibly get."
Although floodwaters have reportedly begun to recede in Zimbabwe and Malawi, allowing some people to return home, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned that Mozambique is facing "a major humanitarian emergency that is getting bigger by the hour."
An estimated 1.7 million people were in the path of the cyclone in Mozambique, WFP spokesperson Herve Verhoosel told journalists in Geneva, in addition to the 920,000 people affected in Malawi and "thousands more" impacted in Zimbabwe. ...
In Mozambique, WFP aims to support 600,000 people affected by the cyclone, which struck with wind speeds in excess of 150 kilometers per hour. In Malawi, the U.N. agency plans to target 650,000 people with food assistance.
Amid the humanitarian response, heavy rain is continuing and more is forecast, according to Clare Nullis, spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). "The Mozambican president is quoted as saying they are fearing there are more than 1,000 casualties," she said. "If these reports, these fears are realized, then we can say that this is one of the worst weather-related disasters—tropical cyclone-related disasters—in the Southern Hemisphere."
Iris Global and partners are working together for disaster relief in the midst of "insane human suffering."
Watch the video for Heidi's full briefing.
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