“People are not afraid of dying of the pandemic, but of hunger. We receive petitions for food support but with limited funds, we are unable to meet these requests.”
Bishop Vicente, Diocese of Niassa
Malnutrition and poverty were issues in the diocese prior to the pandemic, and now these issues are magnified. Access to medicine, food and fresh, clean water are all difficult, and are made even more difficult as the country is locked down to fight Coronavirus. Bishop Vicente intends to use the support we provide to them to provide more food support to those facing hunger, and is extremely grateful for our support in this time.
Wellington diocese has maintained a friendship with the people of the Diocese of Niassa in Mozambique for a number of years, and Bishop Eleanor speaks of them as a people of great faith. The diocese, led by Bishop Vicente, covers a huge land area and includes a population nearly double that of New Zealand. However many of the communities there are rural, and rely on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods which were ruined by cyclones that devastated the country over the last couple of years.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought further hardship to the people. The country is in lockdown, causing small businesses to close with no assistance from the Government. Hospitals are failing to treat people, and those that live in rural areas don’t have the money to seek treatment at private clinics anyway. Pandemic information being disseminated by the Mozambique Government is in the official language of Portuguese, but about 40% of the population do not speak Portuguese, communicating using local languages alone – and no effort is being made to translate the information. Bishop Vicente writes: “People are not afraid of dying of the pandemic, but of hunger. We receive requests for support almost daily, support for the people who are sick and need some medication. We receive petition for food support but with limited funds, we are unable to meet these requests.”