From Relief to Rebuilding


In the special floods issue of Malawi Amoto we spoke about the devastating floods which hit Malawi in January 2015 and the impact these had on thousands of people in the south of the country. SIM Malawi and the Africa Evangelical Church responded to this event but now they are changing their focus, as SIM Malawi’s flood relief co-ordinator Peter Ong explained

January 2015 saw Malawi hit by devastating cyclonic winds and torrential rains over three days, which left many dead, thousands homeless and crops, homes and businesses destroyed. SIM Malawi and the Africa Evangelical Church (AEC) rose to the challenge of helping people in the Nsanje District south of Blantyre where some 60,000-plus homeless people were being sheltered in more than 20 camps.

Regular deliveries of aid have been made by SIM Malawi and AEC but things are starting to take a new direction, as SIM Malawi’s Relief Co-ordinator Peter Ong explained when he spoke to Malawi Amoto.

A view of the main camp in Bangula shortly after the floods hit

How have things gone over the last few months with the work of SIM Malawi and the Africa Evangelical Church?

Things have been going well. To date we have made four deliveries, with more planned. In all we are hoping to make six or seven deliveries.

They are deliveries of what?

We are delivering bags of Ufa [maize flour], up to three tonnes at a time, plus blankets, Likuni Phala, which is a vitamin fortified maize/soya porridge which is especially good for kids, and those who are malnourished, and also things like soya pieces.

You have been making regular trips to the camps. What difference have you seen in the camps you have been visiting?

I think we are making some difference. We visited Ndamera at the border with Mozambique and at that particular camp there are about 1,700 people. When we arrived, their storehouses were all empty so they had been without food for a couple of days so they really appreciated that we had come with ufa and blankets  which will help them for a couple of days.

One of the houses in the town destroyed by the floods

What is the long term for SIM Malawi and AEC in terms of aid relief?

There are two phases to the project. The first is the delivery of relief material for the people living in the camps. The second phase is to help the people as they return to their communities for rebuilding, Depending on the funds that we get, we hope to be able to provide for the needs of people who have lost crops from the floods, to allow them to do replanting, We are providing them with seeds aand hoes, so they can have crops for the rest of the year.

Things are fluid at the moment, so we will see when people move out of the camps then co-ordinate with the AEC to identify those who will receive the seeds for the replanting.

Although SIM Malawi is not a relief agency, we just felt compelled to offer some assistance in the midst of the suffering and the hardship which is being experienced.


If you would like to help

SIM Malawi has established a project MW96759, to which donations may be made via your local SIM office

Donations can also be made to the SIM International Disaster Relief Fund ZZ88600.

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