As the Coronavirus pandemic reaches further around the world, we’re in touch with our partners overseas to help and support in any way we can.
In Tanzania, while only 501 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been officially recorded, there are fears that the real number of cases is much higher.
The government has not yet implemented a total lockdown in response to the crisis. And recent flooding is compounding the problems of COVID-19, as people’s homes and livelihoods are swept away.
A desperate situation
Fr Jovitus, Missio’s National Director in Tanzania, explained:
‘In southern Tanzania in the diocese of Lindi, the heavy rain has caused flooding. This has displaced people as they have lost their residences.
People are now living in temporary handmade shelters or using trees and temporal shelter. At the same time, they should protect themselves from the spread of Coronavirus (social distancing and washing regularly).
Imagine you are in this situation. People are suffering greatly, especially women and children.’
The Church can help
In times of great need and suffering, the Church is there. Fr Alfred, National Assistant of Missio in Tanzania, shared some of the Church’s actions during the current crisis – actions which, through your generous donations, we can support and expand. He shared:
‘The fact that up to now the official statistics show that we only have 505 COVID-19 cases, may easily give an impression that the effects of the pandemic are not so much in comparison to other countries, particularly those in Europe and America.
‘The stand of our Bishops has always been that the Church has to regard herself as a spiritual hospital. As such, in the same way physical health attendants (doctors, nurses, and others) still continue with their services, we should do likewise, and if possible, more.’
Restrictions and cutbacks
As in many countries affected by COVID-19, many celebrations such as Baptisms and Confirmations have had to be postponed. The Church is also implementing hygiene measures like wearing masks during services for Priests and people attending Mass.
But as with so many countries, the economic hardships are even more of a problem both for poor and vulnerable people and the Church which supports them. Fr Alfred explains:
‘For the young African Church, which to a great extent today depends on the generosity of its faithful (the majority of whom are poor), this situation complicates things more.
Taking into consideration that this year some areas have also experienced heavy rains leading to floods which have destroyed farms, this will similarly make things worse.’
Pope Francis Emergency Fund
Pope Francis has set up an emergency fund, through Missio, to help the global Church respond to the crisis. With your generous help, we can help boost and support the work of the local Church across the world, as it brings desperately needed spiritual and practical help to people who are sick and vulnerable.
Please give what you can today>>
Thank you for being part of Missio. We can share God’s love today, and ensure we create a vibrant Church for the future.
Main image: A catechist teaches in a time of social distancing.