“Today (7th April), we began our aid distribution event with the national anthem of Mozambique, as a show of respect for the local customs and culture,” said Tim Lu, a staff from Tzu Chi Foundation’s headquarters in Taiwan.
He pointed out how Tzu Chi, a Taiwan based NGO, has adapted its overseas disaster relief operations to the local culture and context.
Help pours in to cyclone-stricken areas
In the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, Tzu Chi began its disaster assessments and relief operations in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Teams of Tzu Chi volunteers have entered the disaster areas and are stationed there to provide ongoing assistance and relief to the cyclone victims. Most of the volunteers who are in charge of the details of the disaster relief work are local Africans.
By the end of March, Tzu Chi had carried out relief distributions in the hard-hit districts of Dombe and Dondo in Mozambique. In order to assist in the transportation and storage of relief supplies, the local volunteers continued to stay in the country’s Nhamatanda District to prepare for the aid distributions to be held from 7th April to 9th April.
Situated about 100 kilometres away from the city of Beira, Nhamatanda District is located in the middle of the hardest hit region. Due to its central location to the affected areas, it was an ideal location for Tzu Chi to set up a temporary storage centre for the relief supplies.
CJ Smart Cargo International provided Tzu Chi with storage space for the relief supplies as well as vehicles of various sizes to transport the aid to the disaster areas. The volunteers also received substantial help from the local government of Nhamatanda, where the head of the education department offered them to stay at his residence and allowed them to plan their aid distribution work in his office.
Three-day aid distributions benefit 2,269 needy households
During the aid distribution event held at Nhamatanda on 7th April, a Tzu Chi volunteer from Mozambique, Luisa Shulo, read out a letter of condolences and encouragement from Dharma Master Cheng Yen to the cyclone victims, in the local language. When the villagers learned about the painstaking process of delivering the aid supplies to them, and how it was made possible by the selfless love and efforts of people from all over the world, many of them were moved to tears.
The team of volunteers serving at the distribution event hailed from Taiwan, China, the United States, South Africa and Mozambique. Next to these volunteers were aid supplies that were stacked up and ready for distribution. The items included rice, cornmeal, beans, table salt, cooking oil, water purifying solution, soap, mosquito nets and other daily necessities.
Instead queuing up to collect their aid supplies like in the usual Tzu Chi aid distribution events, the recipients were seated down as the volunteers personally gave out the items to each of them as a show of gratitude, respect and blessings.
Feeling for the hardship and plight of those affected by the cyclone disaster, Tzu Chi promptly carried out large-scale aid distributions in Mozambique for the 3 consecutive days. On the first day, volunteers distributed aid supplies to 995 households in Nhamatanda. The following day, some 874 households in Tica Village received aid from Tzu Chi, and on the third day, 400 households in Lamego Village benefitted from the aid.
The timely distributions of daily necessities to the cyclone victims were made possible through the combined love and efforts of people from around the world. Tzu Chi hopes that the aid it has provided can fill the hungry stomachs of the impoverished villagers and help their lives return to normalcy soon.
Click on this link to learn more about Tzu Chi’s post-Cyclone Idai relief work and to make a donation：www.tzuchi.org.sg/en/fundraising/send-love-to-africa/