The cyclones and extreme weather that devastated so much of Mozambique earlier this year also affected Madagascar very badly. Archbishop Remi reported damage to St Lawrence School in Antananarivo. Another cyclone struck in April and caused extensive damage to church property in the Diocese of Antsiranana.
"Ten years ago we spent an impressive amount of aid on erecting a new church and parsonage in the coastal town of Antalaha," writes Bishop Keith. "Two stone buildings replaced decrepit wooden affronts to the dignity of the town and the reputation of the Diocese."
The new buildings came with a 'cyclone-resistant' guarantee, often given by contractors who are keen to secure new work, but too often valid only until the next cyclone hits. The cyclone of 2nd April put this guarantee to the test, and both buildings were, unfortunately, destroyed.
"The Antalaha congregation is having to worship out of doors, weather permitting," reports the Bishop, "whilst their Fr Arsene has cobbled together a makeshift shelter for himself. His wife and two children have left Antalaha to stay with relatives until we can afford to rebuild."
It is estimated that at least £9,500 is needed to rebuild the church in Antalaha. A smaller wooden church in nearby Maroantsetra, also under the care of Fr Arsene, was left in shreds by the storm. It is estimated that £7,000 will be required to rebuild this from breeze blocks on firmer foundations.
The costs of repairs may increase substantially, as the price of building materials soars after a cyclone, and the recent trebling of world oil prices has led to substantial increases in transportation costs. It is often the long term effects of a cyclone that cause the most hardship, especially when the plight of stricken areas no longer makes the news headlines.
Item from: PIOSA