Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Eye of the Storm: A Timeline

BACKGROUND: While it’s hard for us to make an accurate estimate of how many people were effected by the devastating cyclone, what we do know is that Dineo made landfall just north of Inhambane City where we live, alone the coast of the Indian Ocean late last Wednesday, Feb 15th. According to the National Institute of Disaster Management, 20,000 homes were destroyed, with over 650,000 people affected. The city was struck by high winds, torrential rain, and rough sees. There were also a number of schools and health centers destroyed. Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries, is now battling to rebuild. Working with the Mozambican, we are doing what we can with funds from the ECHO Project—a part of African Outreach Ministries. We are mainly cutting down trees—many that have crushed home—as well as rebuilding the houses of those in need.

Feb 15, 6:33 pm GMT +2
I'd like to ask for prayer not only my family, but for the people who are facing this tremendous cyclone here in Mozambique. The cyclone is a type 2 and so far has ripped tiles off of the guard roof, solar panels off our roof, and a few other casualties. We have very limited remaining electricity and are holding the fort (literally) as best as we can. So I would like to ask for prayers over this cyclone as we know it is destroying houses and roads, causing flooding, and taking lives. We are blessed enough as it is to not have our house blow away. Constant prayer would be really appreciated. - Mariah
Rural school that lost its roof.
Feb 16, 8:08 am
We made it through the night. It was a bit scary, but we're fine. Some damage to our house, mainly roof tiles, our hot water solar tank fell and shattered, half of our solar panels flew off the roof, one walkway veranda covering blew off, and lots of trees limbs broke. But many people in our neighborhood--and beyond--lost their roofs, so clearly lots of damage especially with all of the rain. The main cell phone service is out, though we still have internet for now on another carrier. Water is out as well, and electricity is out in places, though we don't know how extensive.

We are planning to organize some teams to send out and help clear roads--lots of trees down--and help with roofs once the roads are passable, (right now our only road out is blocked in multiple locations) we will take teams out to the villages to help as we can.

If you would like to donate money that we will use to help with roof supplies, roads, etc, in the churches and in our communities, you can donate to the ECHO Project, and we will funnel the money to help the community here. Please send us an email if you give, or mark online that it is for Cyclone Dineo Relief.

Thank you for your prayers!!
Hundreds of tree fell during the storm, especially the cashew trees

Feb 16, 5:22 pm
Prayer Request: We've got a friend trying to source us some things in another town including nails for roofs and one or two gas chainsaws. With so many fallen trees and no power, this is a huge need. Please pray that he can find some of the things we need to help those struggling right now in our community.

Feb 16, 7:54 pm

Some cell service is back and I have had contact with Frank out in Guinjata. A lot of damage to homes, even to the crops. One lady from the Guinjata church had a tree fall on her house. She is a widow and takes care of a lot of children. The ECHO project sends her food each month to help sustain her. We will be sending food out to her as soon as we can get out those roads. The ECHO project will also plan to build her a new home as soon as we can. Pray for Helena and the children tonight...

Woman sitting outside their compounds
Feb 17, 10:15 am
First of all a huge thanks to all of the comments and notes we've received from people praying for this part of the world!

Today's praise is that the sun is shining and we've had no rain. We've spoken to friends in South Africa where the rain was supposed to be extremely heavy as the downgraded cyclone moved across SA, but they didn't get much either. So one, this means people aren't having to deal with repairing and replacing roofs in the rain, and two, we will hopefully avoid the devastating flooding that comes to Moz when certain South Africa's rivers flood.

Water is still out at our house, but I spoke with a neighbor and theirs is on, so at least that is progress. Power seems to still be out in our area as well, though I'm not sure if parts of the city and surrounding areas have it yet or not. Cell/internet service is on and off. We're running half our solar panels--the ones still on the roof--which is giving us enough to charge our fridge (though not 24/7) and keep things charged like our phones, computers, and neighbors' phones.
Scott and David are out this morning with teams starting repairs. They found one chain saw and bought it, but it won't work, so they are still looking. We have a friend who found one south of us, so hopefully he can get that one to us today along with some of the other supplies we need.

Please continue your prayers!

Flooding in town
Feb 17, 1:32 pm
Scott spent two hours trying to buy a chain saw and some basic tools this morning, only to find out that the chainsaw--the only one we could find in town for sale--didn't work. Thankfully, a missionary friend three hours south found one and is bringing it to us this afternoon.

They started working in town to salvage a bedroom belonging to several girls in a compound. The girls actually slept there last night, even though there was a coconut tree that had crushed it. They had to cut up the tree with an ax, removed two walls and the roof, managing to safe two of the wall. Now they will clean the area and put in new posts, but will wait for the chain saw to do any more cutting down of the trees in the neighborhood, as it is so much work to do it by hand.

This afternoon, they will start on a couple more houses that were severely damaged. With so many people affected, the rebuilding will take time. Please pray as well for the weather, as it is predicted to rain again tomorrow which will make the rebuilding much harder.

A coconut fell on the room where several girls slept. Thankfully they were already up when it fell.
Feb 17, 4:52 pm
Yeah! We finally got our chainsaw. This is going to be such a huge blessing. And a huge thank you to Franco for transporting it here for us!!!

Feb 17, 8:17 pm
The team helped Isaias move his things to his mothers after his house was totally destroyed. With the chain saw, we can now go out early in the morning and start cutting down trees. Also have been able to source nails and other local building materials to help with the re-building.
The rebuilding begins.

Feb 18, 7:19 am
I've had a number of questions on how to give to the ECHO Project to help with the rebuilding after Cyclone Dineo, so I'm sharing how below. We were able to source a chain saw for $500 and are finding that even some of the local building materials like the woven palm branches used to build walls have almost doubled in price. Even so, through the ECHO Project funds, we will continue to help as many people as we can.

There are two options for your tax-deductible donation. Use the Pay Pal link below, or send a check made out to African Outreach Ministries to:
Creekside Church
ATTN: Greer Yeldell
5401 E. Hwy 287
Midlothian, TX 76065
Write ECHO Project in the memo.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support of the ministry here!
The gas chainsaw has been a HUGE blessing. We've gone from house to house cutting up fallen trees for people.

Feb 18, 9:36 am
We have water!! David called early, early this morning to let us know the water was on. There wasn't enough pressure to get to our house, but Scott managed to get about 6 gallons of water from a tap at the edge of our property before it ran out. Don't think I've ever been so excited about doing dishes! About an hour after we finished days worth of dirty dishes, the pressure increased and the water came on at our house! Next on the to-do list is clean laundry! Praising God as well that there is still no rain, which means clean up is easier and our solar will charge.

Feb 18, 6:15 pm
Another busy day! While some of the brothers worked to rebuild a fallen house, Scott and Franco walked through the neighborhoods and used the chainsaw to cut down around forty trees.
Cooking hut about to fall over after the storm
Feb 19, 3:02 pm
Despite the destruction, I was so blessed by the testimonies at church. So many thought they wouldn't make it out alive. They shared their stories of how God protected them. One widow had a tree fall on their house. She had to cut it away to get her children out. Then the next room they went to lost the roof. But none of them had even a scratch on them.

Those of you who have been to visit us will recognize many of these places. While we've been in contact by phone, today we went out to visit the Guinjata church. We will take teams out there as soon as we can
Rebuilding a widows house

Feb 20th 1:30 pm 
After two days of using the using the chain saw and dozens of trees cut down, the blade is already dull! Searching for a place that has electricity who ca sharpen it.
Flooding in town

Feb 21, 9:48 am
Here's the team on their way out to the Guinjata area to help a couple of widows in our church there, as well as to help as needed in the community. We've discovered that in town seems to be worse because of the high density of houses. A single tree there can easily hit two or three compounds, while out in the villages the compounds are spread out meaning less damage.

This is what is left of Isaias' house.
Feb 22, 3:59 pm
The team headed out again to Guinjata for the second day where they started building a house for one of the widows in the church. Yesterday they put up the frame and today they almost completed all the walls. The plan is to return tomorrow to put on the roof.

While the group was finishing the house, Scott and one of the other brothers worked to cut up a number of cashew trees that had fallen in the compound of another widow. (And BTW Scott's body isn't keeping up with all he wants to do, meaning he's been reminded more than once lately that he's 50 now!)

Scott also received a phone call from a lady representing City Hope Disaster Relief that is run out of a large church in Durban. They are looking for a partner on the ground to send relief, and are ready to send ten food pallets, roughly 20k meals. They also talked about sending a team next week to help, and Scott asked if they could bring more chain saws to help with the clearing thought the neighborhoods, particularly in Inhambane City. Please pray for wisdom as we work out the details of this help.

We also heard from some of the brothers in Zimbabwe who were also effected by Cyclone Dineo. They had major storms, flooding and lightening. In some places people were even evacuated by army helicopters.

Team that went out one day.
Debra after the cyclone
Here are some of the girls whose room was crushed.

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