“The floods came so fast, they left with only the clothes on their backs and a few bits and pieces. They have lost everything. The strength of the floods took everything with it. There is nothing left on the ground, only soaked earth. They have lost vast amounts of crops they were relying on.”
“It was very hard to process the sheer scale of the destruction,” Gavin said.
Gavin and his team left their boat at one point and trekked across a field to visit a village a few kilometres inland.
“It was hard to believe that last month this was a maize field almost ready for harvest,” he recounted. “Now it resembled a bog with large streams of water flowing through it. We were knee deep in mud by the time we got to the village.”
Many of the residents they met during their trip had returned to fish, as there is a shortage of food in the displacement camps where people had fled to.
“The only thing on the minds of the people I met during our trip was food and shelter,” he said.
The previous day Gavin visited the displacement camp where many of the residents of these abandoned towns and villages are currently staying.
“Aid is slow in coming to the camp. The people have not received a food delivery in six days,” he said.
“There are more than 11,000 people staying there – mainly women and children. The camp, in the grounds of a school, has less than 20 toilets for the entire camp population. There is a real threat of Cholera and other water-borne diseases. It is very apparent a bigger crisis is looming,” he warned.
Over 800,000 people have been affected by the flooding in the wake of Cyclone Idai in Malawi, with 87,000 displaced, 59 dead and 672 injured.
The districts of Nsanje and Phalombe in southern Malawi (where Concern has been working for a number of years) are among the worst areas affected by flooding.