Malawi flood victims hungry, cold, and thirsty

(Photo courtesy World Renew)

(Photo courtesy World Renew)

Malawi (WRN/MNN) — Southern Africa is having a rough go in 2015. Flooding due to a one-two punch of a Cyclone and Tropical Storm hit late December. January continued to see unusually heavy rains, compounding the floods.

Rising waters have damaged infrastructure, including roads and bridges. Farmland and homes have been submerged. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced. If they got out in time, they’re holed up in churches, schools, community buildings, and camps.

The worst-hit areas in Southern Africa were Mozambique and Malawi. Malawians are no strangers to hardship. Theirs is one of the poorest countries in southern Africa. However, Malawi’s rains came after months of drought, so the water had nowhere to go. On top of that, there’s a growing threat of waterborne diseases. Malawi’s president asked for $81 million in help, noting that the government had already exhausted all the money reserved for this year’s national disasters. He’s also declared a State of Emergency in 15 (of 28) districts in the country.

World Renew teams have been responding in both countries. They share a story from one of the survivors in Malawi:

(Photo courtesy World Renew)

(Photo courtesy World Renew)

The fear and emotion from this tragedy are still fresh and become evident in the quake of his voice. “We were woken up by people yelling that there was water coming and that people should take care. I opened my front door to see what was happening. That was when the water rushed in and washed everything away.”

Simon is one of more than 70,000 people in Malawi who were forced from their homes when heavy rains caused flash flooding. More than one third of the country has been affected by flooding, and thousands of homes have been completely washed away.

After the waters rushed in, Simon and his family fled in the night. They had to carry the small children over the flood waters and were unable to bring along any of their personal belongings. Eventually, they managed to reach a building with a raised foundation. Simon, his wife, his two children, and his younger brother spent the night there and then took stock of the situation when morning came. What they saw broke their hearts. Their home and the crops in their field were totally destroyed.

Simon built a makeshift shelter out of materials he could salvage. He is staying there with his family and hopes to begin work on repairing his home and replacing his crops as soon as the waters recede. His brother, who had been living with Simon’s family while he attended school, can no longer go to class. All of the schools have been closed.

World Renew has been working in Malawi since 1989 and has existing partnerships with several churches and church denominations in the area. Through these churches, World Renew had been providing programs to increase agricultural production, improve nutrition, encourage the creation and development of small businesses, and fight the spread of HIV and AIDS.

In the face of this new crisis, World Renew and its church partners are providing emergency food, tarps, seeds, farming , mosquito nets, and water purification supplies to 1,000 families like Simon’s. One of the local congregations has collected over 100 bags of maize (5000Kgs) to give to their fellow citizens who have been impacted by the flood. As people in Malawi give from the little they have, World Renew asks you to join them in contributing to and praying for this effort.