Family from Saffron Walden head to Mozambique to help after Cyclone Idai

PUBLISHED: 11:03 01 April 2019

Liz Vilela from Saffron Walden is in Mozambique helping with the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Liz Vilela from Saffron Walden is in Mozambique helping with the aftermath of Cyclone Idai. Picture: CONTRIBUTED


Two former members of Saffron Walden Baptist Church are in Mozambique helping to combat the effects of Cyclone Idai, one of the worst tropical cyclones on record to affect Africa.

Liz and Sergio Vilela work in Mozambique helping with community pre-school projects and mission training for nationals.

The pair are back in the country after being on leave at Sergio’s home in Brazil when the cyclone struck.

Liz said: “The worst moment for us was when friends were telling us that their windows were breaking and water was coming into their houses, and all they could hear were tin roofs blowing in the wind and glass breaking. Then the power went out, there was no signal and we had to wait a few days to know that they were safe.”

They cut short their holiday and Sergio has gone home to the city of Beira to help their local partners in assessing the situation and the best way to assist.

Liz has stayed in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, with their children, Chloe and Joshua, for the time being.

The one main road out of Beira is now fixed and Beira is accessible again, so mineral water and food are arriving back in the shops that are open.

Liz said: “For people that have money and a house, life seems to be more liveable now, but for the poor the issues of dirty water, housing and health conditions, are still very real. There are already cases of cholera and other diseases.

“People that already had near to nothing now have absolutely nothing and not even the land that they lived off. They need to rebuild their whole lives again which will take a very long time. However there is a lot of aid coming in too from several countries, which is great.”

Liz grew up in Saffron Walden and met Sergio in Brazil while Sergio was a mission worker.

After marrying, they worked in Brazil for a year before spending three years as youth pastors at Saffron Walden Baptist Church, where Liz’s father Malcom Brown had been a former minister. They moved to Mozambique in 2013 with BMS World Mission.

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