Muslim Aid today (21 March) is launching an immediate appeal for those struck by tropical Cyclone Idai which swept southern Africa leaving scores dead and hundreds of thousands destitute.
Mozambique bore the brunt of the storm that hit late last week bringing winds over 100 mile per hour and torrential rain. Some 1.7 million people stood in its direct path, according to the UN. Sweeping inland, some 920,000 have been affected in Malawi, while Zimbabwe has also suffered badly.
Vast areas are under water and homes and infrastructure were swept away. At least 300 people are confirmed dead in Mozambique and 100 in neighbouring Zimbabwe. Many are still missing.
“The picture emerging is a trail of devastation quite unsurpassed in this part of the world,” says Chief Executive Jehangir Malik OBE. “People’s homes and crops have been destroyed. It’s a crisis we must respond to and we are already in touch with local partners to bring emergency relief.”
Zimbabwe and Mozambique have both declared a national disaster. And the UK government has pledged a total package of £18 million. Muslim Aid is to focus on the supply of food, water and shelter through local partners.
Muslim Aid yesterday organised a collection at the East London Mosque after mid-day prayer. Some worshippers were busy to get back to work, but still found time to make generous donations.
“They’re human beings like me from Adam and Eve. The pain they have, I have to share,” said Ibrahim, a freelance IT worker from Whitechapel. “No matter where we are from, we have to share and stand together.”
Mohammad Ayub said he heard about the cyclone for the first time on the morning news and felt the need to help. But it wasn’t the only trigger. He was also moved by the movie, ‘The Boy who Harnessed the Wind,’ about a young Malawian who builds a wind turbine to save his village from hunger. “I saw how difficult life over there really can be,” said Mohammad.