On the night of 10th January, 2015, over 17 districts were affected by heavy rains and thunderstorms in the low lying areas of Malawi, especially the Southern region of the country. Malawi’s president, Peter Muntharika, declared 15 of these districts, disaster areas.
Official reports put the death toll at 176. Over 800 people are still reported missing and 300,000 displaced from their homes, and requiring some form of assistance. Houses, livestock and property have also been destroyed. The districts which have been heavily affected are Nsanje and Chikhwawa along the Shire Valley Basin and Phalombe.
Despite the evacuation exercise being greatly hampered by poor weather and most of the roads virtually impassable, the evacuation of people from the danger zones has been completed. Boats and helicopters were used to get people to safety.
Immediate requirements, in the short-term, include food, shelter and proper sanitation. Government agencies, NGO’s, and the International Community in general are providing much needed assistance. However, the needs are acute. In the long run, there is a need to engage in the rehabilitation mode, assisting them with reconstruction of their homes, seeds and fertilizers for replanting of crops to take advantage of the winter cropping. The destruction to this year’s crop in the fields is unprecedented
WHAT HAVE THE CHURCHES DONE
In a bid to assist in the response efforts, churches in the country have launched the “Church Response to Floods” program. The three major Christian bodies namely; The Evangelical Association of Malawi, Malawi Council of Churches and the Episcopal Conference of Malawi are behind the initiative. The goal is to mobilise over three million people to give towards the needs of the affected people in the three most hit districts.
We have teamed up with World Vision International and ACT Alliance, who are providing the logistical support to the Church intervention. Our two mobile phone companies have been requested to assist in coordinating the financial contributions. A phone number has been set aside by each of these Companies to which people are being encouraged to send their contributions. For each text, a K100 (slightly half of a dollar) is automatically deducted from the phone user to assist flood victims. The Evangelical Alliance of Malawi (EAM) is currently chairing the main steering committee for “Church Response to Floods.”
EAM has put together an emergency team, which is spearheading the response. We call upon all our local and international church partners to assist us reach out to these people with the much needed support. You might also wish to note that Muslim groups in the country are actively engaged in the relief programs in the Lower Shire Basin, which is predominately a Christian belt. The people in that area are desperate. The price tag for such assistance will be great in the long run unless the Church comes in swiftly and in a significant way.
Urgent needs include; food, shelter, proper sanitation, seeds, fertilizers, mosquito nets, kitchen utensils, blankets and clothes for the affected people. The majority of the displaced people lost almost everything in the floods. Any support towards the needs on the ground will be welcome.
For more information on how to assist the response in Malawi contact:
Rev. Francis Mkandawire
Evangelical Association of Malawi
P.O. Box 30296
Lilongwe 3. Malawi
The Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA) was formed on 26th February 1966 at Limuru, Kenya, during a meeting of 102 evangelical Christian leaders from 23 African nations and missionaries from other countries. The meeting had been convened as a result of the felt need by the evangelicals for a permanent association which would help build a united movement of the Body of Christ that would promote evangelical unity, fellowship and Christian witness in Africa.
In its 49 years of existence, AEA has grown into a continental family of over 100 million evangelicals comprising 36 National Evangelical Fellowships that are made up of numerous local churches. There are 34 Associate Members who consist of Para-Church organizations, and 11 Special Members representing local Churches in countries where there are no National Evangelical Alliances.