Dear prayer partners,

On Wednesday 25 March, Col. Jimmy Matamwe of Tanzania’s Disaster Management Unit handed over aid to the flood victims in the Rufiji district. Tanzania has been plagued by heavy rain and flooding over the last few months. Flooding began in early February in the regions of Lindi, Mwanza, Morogoro, Manyara as well as other parts of the country. The Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) has also warned that heavy rains could continue until early May.

At least 3,500 houses and 6,600 hectares of farms have been swept away by floods in Rufiji district alone where the Rufiji River broke its banks. At least 21 people have died as a result of the floods, with a further 21,000 people being displaced. Power supply has been interrupted in some areas and there is also concern that damage to crops and farmland will result in food shortages. Many schools have been closed to their pupils, to be used instead for sheltering those made homeless by the floods.

Bishop Bruno Pius Ngonyani has called on local Christian groups, state authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and “all people of good will” to help those affected by the flooding. His appeal echoes that of the Tanzanian Prime Minister’s disaster relief team, who called for more donations of money and resources as the crisis continued.

As Tanzanian authorities work to meet the flood needs and restore damaged infrastructure, they also face the reality of the global COVID-19 pandemic. As of 26 March, Tanzania had 13 active cases and 1 recovery from the coronavirus. Tanzanian President John Magufuli has been putting into place the same measures against coronavirus as many other African nations – hand washing, closing schools, quarantining foreign arrivals, and banning public events.

The coronavirus poses a huge threat to these vulnerable communities where hand-to-mouth existence is their daily reality and working from home is not an option, or practical.

Please join with us in praying for Tanzania.

“If the Lord be with us, we have no cause of fear. His eye is upon us, His arm over us, His ear open to our prayer – His grace sufficient, His promise unchangeable.” (John Newton)