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A state of emergency

Strong winds and widespread flooding have destroyed infrastructure, wiped away crops, caused loss of life and affected an estimated 2.6 million people in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.  The aftermath of these floods will be felt through 2019 and well into 2020.

The initial emergency response is being led by the Disasters Emergency Committee and their member charities but there is an important role that Open Arms will play in providing extended and specific support to the vulnerable families that we work with in some of the remote locations that have been struck. 

Mrs Phiri and Kondwandi travelled to Chikwawa and Nsanje to make an assessment of eight families living where flood damage is most severe. 

Our assessment in Chikwawa and Nsanje

Our initial assessment has revealed communities that are suffering serious hardship. Stored food supplies  have been destroyed causing immediate food shortages and looking to the next 12 months, the very promising harvest has been ruined by persisting flood water. Houses have collapsed or sustained damage to the thatched rooves only capable of withstanding short term rain.  And with little clean water available, there is a high risk of diseases such as cholera.

Flood Damaged House

A new home for Chisomo

One of the homes that Open Arms will rebuild is for a little girl called Chisomo.  She is about to turn three years old and after a stay at our Blantyre infant home when her mother died, she returned to live in Nsanje with her Grandma last year.  Her family is very poor and Mrs Phiri had already recommended her for our sponsorship programme to enable her family to provide the food she needs and help prevent malnutrition.

Sadly Chisomo’s small house was grass thatched, built of unburnt brinks (essentially mud bricks that are not pressed) and so it was badly damaged by Cyclone Idai.  She had to move to live in a shelter together with hundreds of other affected families as they could no longer stay in their house and as a result of the floods, all crops were also washed away too.  It’s a sad situation for her as her family were left with nothing to eat, nowhere to sleep, no sanitation facilities, no safe drinking water and no mosquito nets.  

Thanks to your support, Chisomo and her family will have a new secure home, enough food, health advice from our matrons and ongoing monitoring while they get back on their feet.

Chisomo Gm 1

Takondwa and Talandira

Takondwa and Talandira will be three years old in June.  The twins moved back to their home village of Ngabu, Chikwawa last year and were being monitored closely by Open Arms.  Their guardian has very little money to support them.  

When Mrs Phiri visited them following the floods, their home and food supply had been badly affected.  She reported that they will need additional support and monitoring to avoid malnutrition and other preventable diseases as well as longer term support from Open Arms to repair their home and get back on their feet.

Takondwa Talandira In Chikwawa

How you can help today

Our initial response has been to the eight families on our outreach programme living in the districts most affected.  We are providing additional food (Maize and Likuni), building materials (iron sheets for roofing and plastic for flooring), transport and basic supplies such as water tablets and essential medicines.  Two houses have been identified for a full rebuild and many more for repairs.  Building work has started and is being managed by Kondwani, our Blantyre driver.

We will use any additional funds to support other affected areas and any of our own staff who have had damage to their homes.

Click here to make a donation.

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