More than 90,000 people have been displaced after heavy rains and floods washed away their homes, shelter and livestock, and left large swaths of crops submerged. They are currently hosted in 173 temporary camps.
The Malawian government declared a State of National Disaster on March 8 following heavy rains and floods in the southern region. This was followed by cyclone Idai which hit Mozambique last weekend.
“We are currently facing a very dangerous situation where latrines have been damaged and where there are insufficient numbers of toilets and bathrooms in make shift temporary camps, such as schools and churches” Concern’s Country Director in Malawi Yousaf Jogezai said. “This, combined with high water levels, means there is a real risk of water borne diseases such as diarrhoea, Cholera and Malaria.”
A school being used as a temporary camp, visited by Concern last week, which is currently housing 480 people and educating 800 students, had eight toilets and no bathrooms, he said.
Concern is seeking funding for its emergency response which includes providing essential items such as cooking utensils, mosquito nets, soap and other materials including plastic sheeting for immediate shelter for up to 5,000 flood-affected households (22,500 people).
“We will also establish emergency latrines and showers in a number of camps and train people in emergency health and hygiene,” he said Concern and its partners will support and strengthen existing protection mechanisms in place for children who are particularly vulnerable when situations like this occur.
“This is a double disaster for communities in southern Malawi where, even prior to the latest flooding, 3.4 million people were food insecure,” Mr Jogezai said. “Now, just a month before the maize harvest -- what was a very rich crop -- has been destroyed. Between 80% and 100% of the harvest has been lost.”
Maize is the dominant crop and staple in Malawi. Those affected will require food supports and cash transfers for at least the next three months.
“Once the flood waters subside, people will need seeds and tools to enable them commence replanting,” he said. “Work will also be needed to rehabilitate irrigation systems damaged by the floods.”