Metropolitan Leonid of Klin, Patriarchal Exarch of Africa, wrote in his Telegram channel about relief work of the Russian Orthodox Church aimed at helping people affected by Cyclone Freddy in Malawi:
“I carry on telling about the work of the Russian Orthodox Church providing aid to victims of the natural disaster in Malawi. Cyclone Freddy caused enormous damage in nine districts of the country, affecting over half a million of people who in an instant lost their homes and all possessions.
“The Russian Orthodox Church focused its relief efforts on Mbedza village, Zomba District. Its 220 residents lost their homes; many had to live in a small local school which survived the disaster.
“Under the supervision of Deacon Savva Kajawa and with consent of local authorities, a temporary accommodation camp was set up. Two shelters were built, with cement floors, mattresses and a tent, accommodating 61 people. All 220 people were provided with foodstuffs. Opening the camp was Priest George Chabwera, dean of Malawi.
“Touched by such support, the local authorities reported that two plots of land had been allocated in Mbedza to be provided free of charge to the Russian Orthodox Church. To discourage speculations, I emphasise that the decision was taken by the local authorities in response to the Church’s selfless help. The district department of disaster management affairs had pointed to Mbedza as the most affected village in Zomba and the priority place for relief efforts.
“Mbedza residents were impressed by the aid they received. Many of them expressed a wish to learn more about Orthodoxy and become members of the Russian Orthodox Church. Our nearest parish is 15 kilometres from Mbedza and many of the locals go there on foot to attend the Liturgy. At the moment we are considering a possibility of organising systematic catechesis for Mbedza residents.
“With the assistance of the Department of Psychology of the University of Malawi we saw to psychological help being rendered to the cyclone victims in Mbedza. Many of those who survived the natural disaster and were displaced were suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Besides, funds were allocated to pay school fees for 20 children from the affected families.
“Thanks to your contributions, dear brothers and sisters, we have provided all-round aid to the victims of the natural disaster.
“On behalf of the clergy and flock of the Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa of the Russian Orthodox Church in Malawi and on my behalf I once again thank all the benefactors and donors who lent a helping hand to the needy.”
Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa