Chikhwawa, Malawi – Yes, the floods might have occurred a month ago but their impact is still felt and it is not known when Malawi Government will overcome this tragedy.
As Malawi was breathing a sigh of relief following a short break of the persistent heavy rainfall which has rocked the country for over a month, people were caught by surprise waking up on Thursday hearing that heavy rain which came on Tuesday night again left people dead others displaced.
According to the reports by local media, following February 24th’s heavy rains, the following day water swept away an old man and his son as he was coming from his maize field – leaving them all lying dead.
This means that despite a response from Malawi Government and other local and international organisations to help other victims of last month’s floods, the journey is still on.
Until now, there are other affected areas especially in the Lower Shire that are making efforts of delivering aid very difficult.
According to the joint report by UN and Malawi government published on February 4, 2015, 336, 000 people have been displaced by the floods, which hit 15 out of country’s 28 districts. So far, about 104 people have been confirmed dead with 172 still missing and more than a million have been affected.
Different local organisations have stepped in to provide aid to the victims with the government declaring affected districts a State of Disaster. However, the assistance is far from enough as other people are still struggling to get the aid because the roads are impassable – only way to go is by air.
Recently, Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) also made a joint effort with Kuwait’s Revival of Islamic Heritage Society to help the victims where about MK30, 000, 000 was spent at Konzere Camp in Chikhwawa, T/A Mthiramanja in Mulanje and T/A Kadewere in Chiradzulu.
However, after assessing the situation, organisation,s Director of the African Continental Committee Sheikh Jasem Muhammad Al-ainati said there is still need for more aid to Malawi, “perhaps throughout a year.”
“When we go back, we will try to mobilise more resources for the flood victims because the situation here is devastating. We will set up a one year plan to assist the victims because we know they need more things than only food,” he said.
A visit at Konzere Evacuation Camp set by UNICEF indicates that living conditions for those displaced are just worrisome – there is rapid spread of deadly diseases such as Malaria, cholera and measles.
The spread of the deadly diseases has not spared other flood affected areas. According to the tests carried out on young children by Medecins Sans Frontieres in Nsanje district, 80 percent were Malaria positive, Aljazeera’s Richard Nield reports.
In evacuation camps, the victims are sleeping on empty grounds with nothing to cover themselves up. Sounds of mosquitos, deadly heat with temperature rising above 39 degrees Cecius makes their lives unbearable.
“The flooding is unprecedented. It’s the first huge scale disaster Malawi has had since independence in 1964. We were able to mount a response within 72 hours, but not nearly enough to cope with the scale of what happened,” says UNICEF’s Mahimbo Mdoe.
Unfortunately, the torrential rains are still coming, government has no enough capacity to respond to the floods.
Recovering efforts are being made by the government and UN but still more aid assistance is needed.
Malawi indeed still need intervention as without that, the impact of floods will still be felt for a quite long time.