Cyclone Recovery

Foodgrains Bank executive director visits farmers in Malawi, six months after Cyclone Idai.

On March 15, 2019 Cyclone Idai brought torrential rains and winds to Mozambique. The storm moved towards Malawi and Zimbabwe and resulted in severe flooding, leaving 2.6 million people desperately needing humanitarian aid.

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB) is partnered with World Renew, who in turn has a partnership with an indigenous church in Malawi, Living Waters. After the cyclone, World Renew was quick to contact Living Waters, enter Malawi communities, asses the situation, develop a response and make a proposal to the Foodgrains Bank.

Executive Director of CFGB Jim Cornelius and Farmer Kalisto Rular, who received food after his crops and house were destroyed by Cyclone Idai.

“The Foodgrains Bank really is a bank,” Jim Cornelius, executive director of CFGB said, “and people donate money and it goes into our bank. It’s stored up and ready for when there is a crisis. Funds were in the bank when this cyclone hit Malawi, and World Renew was quick to begin working with their partner.” 

The proposal was approved, and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank was able to ensure that food, commodities and seeds were provided quickly to support the communities affected by Cyclone Idai. Through agencies and relationships with local churches, everything is well coordinated on the local level to avoid chaos and duplication. The Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s partnerships with different organizations, such as World Renew, allow it to have people on the ground that can respond in quick and effective ways. 

Lufina Likson, widowed mother of four, does not own any land. She rents land across the river and uses it for farming. During a good year she farms enough food to last her family eight months. She spends the other four months doing piecework in order to provide. When the water came, it came quickly. Fortunately, Lufina was notified by her village’s civil protection committee and was able to evacuate her house and save some of her cooking utensils, clothes and sleeping mat. Lufina and her children spent over a month in a camp before they were able to return home. They found that their house had collapsed and that all their crops had washed away. 

Since then, Lufina has been able to begin reconstructing her home and has received seeds to plant during the winter season. Jim Cornelius had the opportunity to visit Lufina in September, and said “She’s feeling quite stressed for what the future holds for her but was so appreciative of the food she received. For her it was truly a lifesaver because she was displaced, her house collapsed, and she has four children. She felt that everything was against her, so receiving food took a large burden off her shoulders.”

Just as Joseph stored up food in Egypt (Gen. 41: 35-36) to be able to provide for people in a time of need, Canadian Foodgrains Bank ensures that they have funds to act quickly in times of crisis. When churches support the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, they are living out the commands of Jesus. It is an opportunity for Canadian churches to support people globally by coming alongside communities and helping in times of need.

As a lead farmer, Lucy helps other farmers plant seeds they received after Cyclone Idai flooding devastated crops.


  • Kristen Parker

    Kristen is a freelance writer for Christian Courier. She recently married her husband, Chris. She has a passion for words and house plants.

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