Saturday, January 17, 2015

Thousands of Malawian flood victims unable to receive aid (Doctors without Borders)

Up to 20,000 people in the southern tip of Malawi most affected by the current floods remain cut off from the rest of the country without food, Doctors without Borders (MSF) said on Friday.

These people are also cut off from health care and ways to prevent possible outbreaks, the humanitarian medical organization said in a statement issued in Johannesburg.

Humanitarian relief is slowly arriving in the districts of Chikwawa where the waters have started to recede. However some of the most affected areas downstream are only accessible by helicopter, making humanitarian intervention difficult, said MSF.

MSF, which has been responding to the floods since January 9, is refocusing its intervention around the town of Nsanje, where it has a long standing regular project, and is assessing ways to access the more remote East Bank.

"The floods are behaving like a slow tsunami with the river swelling progressively downstream towards the south and Mozambique, " said Amaury Grégoire, MSF's head of mission in Malawi, currently in Nsanje evaluating the impact of the floods.

"Most of Nsanje and East Bank are submerged under two to three meters of water, which has transformed these vast plains into a giant lake engulfing houses and bridges. Even though these areas are prone to floods, old people I talked to could not remember events of this magnitude."

As the rains have eased in the past few days, the water levels are expected to progressively recede. However, long term solutions need to be found for people whose possessions and crops, which are the primary mean of subsistence for 85 percent of the population, have been completely destroyed in the flood.

"Several camps have been set up for people who lost their homes, but the majority of them have found refuge in the homes of friends or relatives that are still standing. These houses are made of mud and very crowded, and with most wells and boreholes contaminated by the floods, people are living in precarious, unsanitary conditions," said Grégoire.

MSF has been setting up tents, distributing non-food items, mosquito nets and water treatment kits, as well as building latrines to prevent the emergence of water-borne diseases. The organization has had a presence in Malawi since 1986 where it currently runs three projects helping people living with HIV, one of them located in Nsanje.

In the recent years, MSF conducted humanitarian interventions after floods affected the country in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

  Source:Xinhua -


  1. Malawi floods kill 176 people ..

    Vice-president says more than 176 people are dead and at least 200,000 displaced, with southern areas worst affected.

    Flooding in Malawi has killed more than 176 people, displaced at least 200,000 others, left homes and schools submerged in water and roads washed away by the deluge, according to the vice-president of the southern African country.

    Downriver in neighbouring Mozambique, floodwaters have left at least 38 dead, according to the Mozambican news agency AIM, displaced tens of thousands and damaged the main road linking the north and south of the country.

    While the Mozambican government’s flood plan, announced last year, may have lessened the damage, Malawi was caught off guard.

    Dozens of people are missing in Malawi, with at least 153 unaccounted for in the worst affected southern parts of the country, the vice-president, Saulos Chilima, said.

    “It’s a very bad situation,” he said, speaking at a press conference in Malawi’s commercial capital, Blantyre...........................

  2. Massive Rescue Operation Ongoing in Malawi After Flooding Kills Over 176...

    Weeks of heavy rain resulted in massive flooding in Malawi, leaving over 176 people dead and around 153 unaccounted for, the Guardian reports with reference to the Malawian Vice President Saulos Klaus Chilima.

    "It's a very bad situation," the newspaper cited Chilima saying at a press conference in Malawi's city of Blantyre.

    At least 200,000 are left homeless, roads and bridges have been washed away by the torrent, cutting off some of the worst-hit areas in the southern parts of the country, with thousands of schools and homes destroyed. Hundreds of hectares of crops stand submerged under the murky water and devastating numbers of livestock killed.

    Temporary tent-villages have been set up for the displaced, while police and the army begin a joint operation to rescue villagers trapped by the churning waters.

    The rescue teams have so far saved over 820 victims, according to a US-based Malawian online newspaper the Maravi Post. However, the vice president called for additional support.

    "But we still need more assistance. For example, we require some 3,777 tents to accommodate the displaced people," Chilima said as cited by the Maravi Post....................

  3. Nearly 40,000 people affected by floods in the central province of Zambezia are living in accommodation centers set up by the government, according to the country's State Administration and Public Service Minister, Carmelita Namachulua on Friday...

    Namachulua said that the government has set up 44 centers to accommodate the more than 200,000 people who lost their homes and those who were rescued from flood-prone areas.

    The catastrophe has now killed at least 90 people nationwide. The country's civil society, on Friday met with the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC) in the capital city of Maputo to express its solidarity and support to the affected families by the flooding in the central and northern regions of the country..................

  4. Flood victims in Malawi in urgent need of food, other relief aid, UN warns...

    The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced today that it has begun distributing high-energy biscuits in Malawi following the devastating flooding that displaced more than 100,000 people and reportedly killed at least 50 others in recent weeks.

    Some 77 metric tons of biscuits – enough to feed 77,000 people – were airlifted into the Southern Africa country from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai earlier this week, according to a WFP press release, which added that this ready-to-eat food would be prioritized for the most vulnerable people, particularly youths.

    Among the poorest countries on earth, Malawi has one of the highest rates of stunting among children.

    Meanwhile, the latest figures from the country’s Government-led food security cluster indicate that some 370,000 people currently require urgent food and other relief assistance due to the flooding......................


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