On 13 March the Malawian President declared a state of disaster as the skies opened up and torrential rain poured down, while strong winds held communities in southern Malawi in a chokehold.
Over the course of six days Malawi received more rain than it normally does in six months – and peoples’ lives and livelihoods were flushed out and disappeared in mudslides and violent rivers slivering through the country like brown snakes of death and destruction. Crops drowned, houses, structures, and homes were destroyed, some 500 people have lost their lives, and over 500,000 people are left homeless and without food or any source of income. Most of those who survived had nothing but the wet clothes on their back.
Camps and the risk of cholera
The displaced have sought refuge in temporary camps that have been set up – mostly in schools – but they have nothing, and their needs are enormous. And to make matters worse – since 2022 Malawi has experienced the worst cholera outbreak in history with some 1,700 deaths – and the situation is further compounded by several new cases of cholera in eight of the cyclone-affected districts.
What do we do?
NCA/DCA Malawi has released USD 235,000 from an emergency fund to address some of the needs of those displaced. We work through our NCA/DCA field office in Chikwawa, one of the hardest hit districts, and also collaborate closely with two local partners involved in the relief work:
– Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD)
– Foundation for Civic Education and Social Empowerment (FOCESE).
The combined support offered includes:
• Cash transfers to 2,000 households to enable them to buy food.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
• Access to clean water
• Emergency latrines and bathrooms in camps for displaced people targeting 1,000 households.
• Health promotion
• Hygiene messages
• Advocacy though religious leaders
• Distribution of hygiene kits to at least 600 women and girls.
• Provision of shelter items
• Establish safe spaces for adolescents in the camps, focusing on SRHR services and GBV prevention