Church responds as severe flooding hits Malawi
Flooding caused by relentless heavy rains in southern Malawi has resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives, destroyed crops and left over 100,000 homeless.
We are sending an emergency grant to support the relief work of the Anglican church in the Diocese of Upper Shire.
The Rt Revd Brighton Vita Malasa, Bishop of Upper Shire, has asked for prayers. Churches and church schools are housing the homeless, and the church is to distribute food, plastic sheeting to help build temporary homes, and other basic supplies.
‘People have lost everything’
Bishop Brighton Malasa, of Upper Shire, reports: ‘Weather experts predict the rains will continue for three more days. We fear there will be more deaths and more loss of property.
‘We estimate that over 20,000 to 30,000 people need support. People have lost their homes, food gardens have been washed away. In short, people have lost everything – homes, food and clothing.
‘A number of fatalities have been reported. Some dead bodies have been retrieved, but others may be in the sand or debris. Now we have fears around sanitation, such as outbreaks of diarrhoea.
‘Our aim is to supply food (maize, beans and salt), plastic sheeting which can be used for temporary shelters, and other essential items, such as blankets and buckets.
‘Above all, we ask for prayers from around the world. Please pray for us and, if you can, send support [you can do this by making a donation to the Us Rapid Response Fund]. Together we can try to make somebody’s life to be better.’
Continuous heavy downpours
The Ven Samuel Kauwa, Archdeacon of Monkey Bay, said: ‘While we thank God for the rain, we are concerned that the continuous heavy downpour has damaged houses and property. In Kela village, many have been made homeless and are currently sheltering in the church and mosque. Elsewhere, people are sheltering in schools.
‘The government has said it will assess the damage. We can only hope that assistance can be given promptly.
‘While some houses are still standing, they may not remain so because we are still at the beginning of the rainy season.’
Anne Bonger, of the Us International Team, has just returned from Malawi, where she was working with the church on a health programme.
She said: ‘At St Luke’s Hospital [which is supported by Us], several trees and an electric pole were blown down. The hospital has had no electricity for three days now, and it continues to pour. Some staff houses have lost their roofs. We drove past deluged fields.
'It was awful to see the damage first-hand, knowing how much people have lost and that the poverty here is stark.
‘The local papers are calling on the government to do more in disaster prevention as flooding is a regular occurrence in some parts of the country.
‘A third of the country is affected. At least 48 people have lost their lives, with more unaccounted for.'