IT is barely a week before the country marks the first anniversary of Cyclone Idai, which left a trail of death and in Chipinge, Chimanimani, Masvingo and Manicaland, but the situation in affected areas remains dire.
Hundreds of people were swept away while infrastructure like roads, bridges, houses and dams was extensively damaged, leaving survivors clutching at straws.
Most of the survivors are still living in tents, where conditions are deplorable, and were left with barely anything to live on.
Last year, First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa introduced the “Poto Nendiro” initiative through which she mobilised churches and those with means to provide pots and other utensils for onward transmission to the survivors.
She has again made an impassioned plea for churches to mobilise whatever resources they can to make a difference in the lives of the cyclone survivors.
Through her Angel of Hope Foundation, she has left no stone unturned to ensure the vulnerable are catered for.
She, however, believes more still needs to be done for the people of Chipinge, Chimanimani and Masvingo.
On Friday, the First Lady took her mobilisation efforts to the Prophetic, Healing and Deliverance (PHD) Ministries led by Prophet Walter Magaya, where she highlighted the plight of the cyclone survivors.
She promised to visit all churches countrywide to mobilise resources for the affected families.
Earlier in the day, she had toured Prophet Magaya’s hotel in Waterfalls, Harare, where she assessed part of the property that was gutted by fire.
She also had the opportunity to view exhibition stands set up at the hotel by various companies and individuals.
The exhibition was done yesterday, but the First Lady, who has been promoting the need for self-sufficiency, had the privilege to tour the stands first.
Addressing multitudes of congregants gathered for an all-night prayer at the PHD church on Friday evening, Amai Mnangagwa emphasised the need to be prayerful, which she said was spiritually nourishing.
“Nothing beats the power of prayer whenever confronted with earthly challenges that need divine intervention to pull through. I am reliably informed that in our midst are guests from various countries in the region and abroad who have come to worship with us. I, therefore, extend a warm welcome to each and every one of us here present,” she said.
The First Lady said the church played a significant role in promoting peace, upholding moral values and cultivating good behaviour among societies.
“As worshippers we should all continue praying in order to maintain peace in our countries and unlock blessings for our nations. We hope God will grant us more through love and peaceful co-existence. As a mother, I remain very apolitical and passionate about addressing the challenges affecting each and every citizen of Zimbabwe. True mothers are blind to race, religion and creed, which is why you see me deeply involved in religious matters, because I am one such mother.”
The First Lady also said the church was critical in moulding morally upright citizens who are driven to develop the nation.
She praised religious leaders like Prophet Magaya for taking it upon themselves to work for the good of the nation.
Further, she also took time to highlight the daily challenges being faced by the cyclone survivors.
“On March 15 last year, Zimbabwe was ravaged by Tropical Cyclone Idai, which left a trail of destruction in Chipinge and Chimanimani, where hundreds of people were swept away, while critical infrastructure like roads, bridges and schools was destroyed. In a few days’ time we will be marking the first anniversary of that disaster, the effects of which, up to this day, the Government, in cooperation with various international organisations, is battling to address.
“To the PHD family, I urge you to spare a thought for the survivors who are still living in tents as permanent homes are still to be reconstructed.
“These people lost lifetime savings and investments like livestock and homes which they had worked hard to achieve. I, therefore, appeal to all of us to assist in whatever way we can to ensure we give these our fellow citizens a good head start. Ndega handingazvigone vana vangu, ndosaka ndati nditenderere mumachurch kuti tiite muonera pamwe.”
Prophet Magaya was at a loss for words following the First Lady’s visit.
“We took heed of her message to assist our fellow citizens and we are going to make sure that we partake in the programme and assist as much as we can,” he said.
“As a church we are going to make sure that we support her fully on the anniversary on the 15th of March.
‘‘She has also donated to the elderly in the church and since she has given us, who are we not to give back to those in need?” he said.
The First Lady, Prophet Magaya said, was in the right direction by mobilising churches to participate in the worthy cause.
Worshippers were delighted to have prayed and worshipped with the First Lady, who gave at least 100 elderly people food hampers.
“I have never seen such in my life. A very important person who comes here to pray with us and go on to highlight the challenges by some of the country’s citizens. She is Godsent,” remarked Ambuya Sarah Chigombe.
Gogo Jesmine Phiri, who also received a food hamper, said: “May God bless her! She is a true mother of the nation who deserves to be supported in all she does.”
Prophet Magaya’s wife, Tendai, thanked the First Lady for gracing their church and promised to mobilise women to contribute to the “Poto Nendiro” initiative.
Distribution of food hampers to the elderly, she added, was a big lesson on the need to care for people, especially the vulnerable is society.