Samaritan’s Purse brought help to disaster victims in Malawi and Mozambique
The southern districts of Malawi have been inundated with rain since early January 2015, leading to severe flooding. Reports show that at least 174,000 people have been displaced and 638,000 have been affected.
The president declared a state of emergency on January 13 in 15 of the 28 districts and made an appeal to the international community for assistance. Displaced people were living in temporary sites such as churches, schools, and camps, and conditions were cramped with a lack of basic services.
In one 24-hour period, Malawi received 1.5 months worth of rain. The flooding left people without food, clean water, or health care. Large portions of land, houses, and crops were underwater, and livestock had been washed away. Drinking water was contaminated through the flooding, and water-related diseases, such as malaria and cholera, became a threat.
Samaritan’s Purse mobilized to respond to this critical situation on January 26. A disaster assistance relief team was sent to join our partners in the three hardest hit districts in Malawi. Our focus was to reach affected people through shelter, water, sanitation, and hygiene. We worked in established camps to deliver emergency relief supplies and flew our supplies in by helicopter to areas cut off by water.
In total, we distributed 952 shelter kits and constructed 572. Construction is still ongoing with the help of a team of carpenters from the community.
Manuel June was among the hundreds who received an emergency shelter kit from Samaritan’s Purse. His house was washed away along with all his possessions. Manuel only managed to escape with his children and the clothes they were wearing. He was unable to save his wife, leaving him to care for his five children alone.
Since the flood, he had been staying with another family, and had to pay rent he couldn’t afford. Now he has his own shelter.
We also constructed a total of 64 pit latrines in two districts, 16 bathing shelters, and three kitchen areas, and completed drainage canals as needed in each camp.
In Chigwamafumu and Chikali communities, we distributed 1,000 kits containing water and hygiene items. Before delivering the kits, we held a hygiene and sanitation training to teach the communities how to purify water, among other topics.
Among those receiving a kit was 55-year-old Dorothy Kapesi, a widow whose mud house was completely destroyed. She lost all her belongings and chickens and was only able to grab a few clothes before escaping to higher ground. She was thankful for the kit and told our staff that it was the only help she had received other than some maize.
We helped our partners in Malawi distribute food and non-food items to a total of 750 households. These items included blankets, plastic buckets, Bibles, bars of soap, mosquito nets, and medical supplies.
Our staff members in Mozambique also responded to needs in that country. We worked with local partners to distribute food, blankets, water buckets, soap, mosquito nets, and medical supplies for the flood victims.
Please pray for continuing strength and encouragement for those who are trying to rebuild homes and livelihoods.