In response to the devastation caused by Cyclone Freddy last year, SMBC Aviation Capital, FROM Scotland and individual supporters rallied to support our Cyclone Freddy Appeal, to help families in the care of Open Arms rebuild and recover over the long-term.
March 2023 saw the southern regions of Malawi absolutely devastated by Freddy – the longest lasting and second deadliest storm of all time. Incessant rains caused catastrophic flash floods, land and mud slides, destroying homes, roads and bridges and rendering the power grid and hydroelectric dam inoperable. 676 people were killed and 538 left missing and presumed dead. It has been reported that 2.3 million people were left injured and insecure and nearly 660,000 people displaced.
For many families their crops were destroyed in the Cyclone, resulting in ongoing challenges with food insecurity and agricultural sustainability. Tragically, 11 districts in Malawi (including Blantyre and Mangochi) are already in food crisis and the situation is expected to worsen between now and March - with an expected 4.4 million people (22% percent of total Malawians in the country) expected to be in crisis phase or worse and requiring humanitarian assistance to sustain their livelihoods and avoid food gaps.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters however, Open Arms has been able to distribute essential starter packs to over 300 families in this 2023–2024 farming season, comprising 10kg of UREA fertiliser, 10kg of NPK fertiliser, and 2kg of maize seed. These families are now equipped with the means to cultivate their own maize, ensuring not only sustenance during the farming season but also surplus for months to come.
Fred’s grandmother, a beneficiary of this initiative, shares her optimism about the potential harvest. She believes that with favourable rains, they could yield up to 300kg of maize, which could sustain her small family for nearly a year, offering not only relief from hunger but also a foundation for a more secure future.
Providing a Lifeline
The provision of starter packs comes at a crucial time when average households in Malawi grapple with the skyrocketing costs of fertilisers. However, thanks to our supporters, Open Arms has been able to alleviate this burden for hundreds of families, offering them a lifeline during these challenging times. By providing these starter packs, families are given the opportunity to break free from the cycle of dependence, empowering them to be self-reliant in meeting their nutritional needs.
Up until the harvesting season, Open Arms’ dedicated Outreach team will continue their commitment by monitoring the progress of selected families. Through follow-up visits, they aim to assess the success of the crops and identify any additional needs or approaches that can further enhance the families’ ability to secure enough food for their households.
Thank you for your support
Open Arms is extremely grateful to everyone who contributed to this appeal and for our ongoing partnerships with SMBC Aviation Capital and FROM. Your support has helped to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who need it most. By providing essential resources and continuous support for our families, we can help pave the way for food security, self-sufficiency and brighter futures for the children in our care.