Mozambique and Malawi disaster management heads have called upon their displaced citizens living in camps to co-exist and lend a helping hand to one another.
About 2500 households fled Mozambique following Tropical storm ANA-induced floods and sought refuge at some camps in Nsanje District, which are also hosting 8303 displaced Malawian households.
Speaking in Nsanje District on Thursday (24th February, 2022) when she visited Nyamithuthu, Mnembe and Bangula camps which are hosting about 1600 Mozambican households, President of the Institute for Disaster Management in the Republic of Mozambique, Luisa Celma Meque said the displaced, irrespective of their nationality, are one people and need to live in harmony.
“Amongst this crowd, I cannot tell who is a Malawian or a Mozambican, we all look the same and no one can differentiate unless they are told,” said Meque.
She said when her government received reports that its citizens were displaced and sought refuge in nearby camps in Malawi, they thought it wise to pay a visit.
“The Malawian Government has not been discriminatory; they have been providing relief assistance to the citizens of the two countries. We have brought some relief items, which will be distributed to everyone in the camps irrespective of their nationality,” said Meque, whose Government has provided 60 tons of relief items which include rice, soap, maize flour, cooking oil, tinned fish, sugar, tarpaulins, salt and assorted clothes.
She then called upon displaced Mozambicans to return home and rebuild their lives when circumstances normalise.
Her counterpart, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba echoed Meque’s remarks saying the Mozambicans and Malawians are just separated by artificial boundaries.
“We all converged in camps for one reason, that is, being affected by Tropical Storm ANA and we cannot afford to live in disunity. Let the spirit of oneness and Ubuntu prevail in these camps. Let us not allow flooding waters to defeat our unity.
“Living in camps is not the best of options because our rights and needs are mostly not met when we live in camps and since we have been affected by disasters for a long time, we need to start to think about relocating to higher grounds to mitigate being hit perennially by disasters. That is the only bold step we can take to resilience,” said Kalemba.
The two disaster management authorities have since agreed to work together in implementing various disaster risk management programmes.
The Development Aid from People to People Malawi (DAPP) has donated 5804 assorted family packs of clothes worth K16 million to people affected by Tropical Storm ANA.
Speaking on Wednesday (23rd February, 2022) at Samson Village, ST/A Chiputula in Chikwawa District, DAPP Project Coordinator for Emergency Patrick Jafali said the organisation felt the need to assist people affected by Tropical Storm ANA-induced floods.
“We hope that the donation will make a difference. Each and every pack comprises assorted clothes befitting family, meaning that there are clothes for men, women and children.
“Chikwawa will receive 3804 while Nsanje will get 2000 packs and these will be distributed in camps set in the two districts,” said Jafali.
In his remarks, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba said most of the children in camps were not going to school because their clothes were washed away.
“What DAPP has done will enable learners have some clothing and be comfortable to attend classes. Most of the people in camps lost their clothes, the donation is need-based and will go a long way towards improving the lives of the displaced people,” said Kalemba.
Forty-eight-year-old Village Head Samson from ST/A Chiputula in Chikwawa District and his subjects have relocated to a safer place following effects of Tropical Storm ANA.
Samson (real name Stemison Benard), was fed up with perennial effects of flash floods and sold his livestock to the tune of K570,000, which he bought land in GVH Gambatula and relocated to, together with 64 families.
“Tropical Storm ANA washed away our houses, damaged household property and took away our livestock, leaving us almost empty handed. My subjects and I sought refuge at Gambatula Primary School on 25th January . After giving it a thorough thought, I advised my subjects not to return to Samson Village, around Mleza Area, which is closer to Shire River and prone to floods.
“Enough is enough, we had to embark on a journey to safety, hence our settling at this place. We are living in makeshift structures but we are not turning back, we are hopeful for the better and I advise my fellow village heads to stop clinging to disaster prone areas and relocate to safer places as a matter of urgency,” said Samson, a father of six.
The host ST/A Chiputula, said he had never heard of Samson’s gesture and pleaded with government and organisations to assist the village in settling at the new place.
Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba commended Samson and described his gesture as a path in the right direction.
“This is the first time in the history of Malawi for a village head to sell what they have and buy land for his people. Deciding not to go back to where they have relocated from is promising. Government has been calling on people living in disaster prone areas to move to safer places but they have been reluctant to do so.
“As government, we will support Village Head Samson, not only with relief assistance and shelter; but also assist him in getting back what he has lost in his quest to protect his people,” said Kalemba.
Department of Disaster Management Affairs has since provided tents to the newly relocated village.
UN Women Malawi has donated K6.1 million worth relief items to people who were affected by tropical storm ANA.
Speaking on Wednesday (25th February, 2022) at Kanseche Camp in Chikwawa, UN Women Malawi Country Representative Clara Anyangwe said her organisation deemed it necessary to donate to women, girls and their families as they were in a dire situation.
“It is very important to help when people are displaced because they are vulnerable to all sorts of abuses. Most importantly, we need to protect women and children living in camps from all forms of violence. We need to join hands in supporting government’s effort in reaching out to the affected people, especially the most vulnerable,” said Anyangwe.
In his remarks, District Commissioner for Chikwawa Allie Phiri described the donation, which includes 1,000 buckets, 1,000 zitenje and cartons of U-Fresh Soap, as timely.
“Chikwawa has been hit hard by Tropical Storm ANA. A total of nine villages from this area [Kanseche] were washed away and the affected people are in need of relief assistance.
“The affected lost their livestock and household property. I Therefore, call upon all well-wishers to stretch their helping hand. If you make rough calculations, almost half of the district’s population were affected by the disaster,” said Phiri.
The UN Women is a United Nation’s agency responsible for programmes, policies and standards that uphold women’s human rights and ensure that every woman and girl lives up to their full potential.
Lilongwe-based Blevin Hardware, plying its trade in Area 2, has donated K1 million worth relief items to people affected by Tropical Storm ANA.
Speaking during the handover ceremony at Capital Hill Lilongwe, Blevin Hardware Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Agness Mwenitete, who was in company of her family members and employees, said she felt the need to reach out to the affected people looking at the effects ANA left.
“As a mother, I thought about the affected people, including their children; hence the donation to make a difference. Seeing people suffering and doing nothing about it brings a burden. My heart feels relieved having made this donation,” said Mwenitete.
In his remarks, Deputy Director of Disaster Response Fyawupi Mwafongo commended Mwenitete, her family members and employees for the gesture, saying it will make a difference on the lives of the affected people.
“His Excellency the President declared state of disaster and appealed for local and international assistance towards people affected by Tropical storm ANA and we are very thankful to you for responding to the call, as a Malawian.
“We would like to request others out there, be it organisations, companies and individuals of good will to emulate Blevin Hardware’s gesture,” said Mwafongo.
The relief items which include, soya pieces, maize flour, clothes, boxes of matches, salt and soap, will be dispatched to Mangochi district tomorrow.
For the past weeks, donors, stakeholders, humanitarian partners and individuals of good will have positively responded to President Lazarus Chakwera's call for support to people affected by Tropical Storm ANA.
DoDMA has facilitated a number of donations (both cash and in-kind) reaching out to the affected in 19 councils.
As the gesture continues, the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change has also donated MK500, 000 to go towards ANA response.
Chairperson of the committee, Werani Chilenga handed over a cheque to DoDMA offices at Capital Hill, Lilongwe.
Chilenga said the committee felt that it is part and parcel of the affected people.
"What we have provided is an initial donation. As a committee, we plan to visit the affected areas. We are also calling upon other well wishers to join us in contributing and alleviating the suffering of the affected people," said Chilenga.
Director of Disaster Response and Recovery Moses Chimphepo commended the committee for the kind gesture saying the donation will go a long way in assisting the affected people.
"We are procuring relief items which will be delivered to the affected people at a camp in Chikwawa District," said Chimphepo.
DoDMA will now and again be updating the general public on the relief assistance coming through it and councils.
In the picture, a man from Kanseche Village, TA Lundu in Chikwawa, shows the remains of his house which was washed away by Tropical Storm ANA induced floods.
Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) on Friday (18th February) donated assorted relief items worth K10 million to people affected by Tropical Storm ANA.
Speaking during the handover ceremony held at Capital Hill, Lilongwe; Chairperson of LWB Operations and Projects Committee Lingalireni Mihowa, said their belief was that the donation will make an impact; help boost the nutrition and health of a section of the affected people.
“It is only human for us as an organisation to contribute in whatever way we can in acknowledging Dr Lazarus Chakwera 's call for support through the declaration of the state of disaster in the affected areas,” said Mihowa.
She then commended the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) for coordinating response operations following the devastating effects of Tropical Storm ANA.
In his remarks, Director of Disaster response and Recovery Rev. Moses Chimphepo said the donation was timely and will address some of the immediate needs of the affected people.
“Effects of Tropical Storm ANA were colossal in terms of infrastructure damage. Some villages were completely wiped out, leaving people destitute. The affected require food and shelter assistance.
“This donation positively responds to His Excellency the President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera’s call for support and will go a long way in assisting affected people, especially those that are living in camps, said Chimphepo.
Meanwhile, the truck carrying the donated items, which include 20 (25kgs) tins of HTH Chroline, 300 (25kgs) bags of maize flour, 77 (20kgs) bags of beans, 280 (2kgs) packets of rice, 30 bales of sugar, 115 packets (2kgs) Likuni Phala, 73 boxes of 30 tablets U- Fresh Soap, 255 packets of salt, 153 (2lts) bottles of cooking oil and seven rolls of black plastic sheets for temporary roofing, has immediately left for Chikwawa for distribution to the affected people.
Learners from Sapitwa International Schools on Wednesday (16th February, 2022) donated assorted relief items to people affected by Tropical Storm ANA.
Speaking at Capital Hill, Lilongwe during the handover ceremony of the items, Ammara Nathoo, a representative of the learners; said the donation which includes salt, soap, sugar, blankets, soya pieces and assorted clothes and shoes are meant to help rebuild the lives of the people affected by ANA.
“We express our gratitude to the school management for encouraging us to do this noble duty,” said Nathoo.
The Schools’ Director Mohamed Alfathe Sama said the school management encouraged the learners to willingly donate to people affected by ANA as one way of teaching them to grow up with the spirit of helping others in times of need.
In his remarks, Director of Disaster Response and Recovery Rev. Moses Chimphepo said the donation will go a long way in assisting the affected people and expressed his gratitude for the students’ noble cause.
“The President declared a state of disaster and made an appeal to all well-wishers to donate in support of efforts government is putting forward to assist the affected.
“For some of us who have visited the affected areas, there are people living in camps and are in need of food and various relief items. They are living in difficult situations. Let me assure you that the department will immediately dispatch these donated items to the affected areas for distribution,” said Chimphepo.
Saulos Kachitsa, a resident of Area 49, Lilongwe today (Tuesday, 15th February) handed over a donation of 80kg of rice to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) for distribution to people who were affected by Tropical Storm ANA-induced floods.
Kachitsa said he was compelled to make the donation having learnt that most of the affected people were displaced, lost their household items and were in need of relief assistance.
“Apart from work, I also run a small scale business in which I sell rice. I order rice from Karonga and I felt obliged to make a difference, I will be making these donations now and again," said Kachitsa.
Kachitsa, who works for the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, then called upon all well-wishers and individuals of good will to lend their helping hand to the affected people.
“It is important to help one another, rise up and develop the spirit of sharing in these difficult moments. The little we have makes a difference, I have donated 80kg of rice, but what if there were a 100 people making this kind of donation? This would mean a lot,” said Kachitsa.
In his remarks, Deputy Director of Response Fyawupi Mwafongo commended Kachitsa for responding positively to calls for support towards Tropical Storm ANA response operations.
“The donation will be handed over to the affected people in Chikwawa District tomorrow. Every donation counts and makes a difference. Let me also call upon companies, organisations and individuals of good will to emulate Mr. Kachitsa's gesture,” said Mwafongo.
As the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) and partners are drawing towards conclusion of provision of assistance to food insecure households under the MVAC Humanitarian Response Programme, challenges are never absent.
The provision of maize in hard to reach areas, especially when it rains cats and dogs, has never been easy as roads become impassable and in some cases, councils have to struggle to get the relief maize to intended beneficiaries. In some districts, trucks got stuck on their way to final distribution points.
In other situations, some areas are not reachable by road and councils have no option but to use boats in ferrying maize, which takes a lot of time.
For instance, wood-boats carrying 20 tonnes of maize have to endure eight hours of sailing through Lake Malawi from Nkhata Bay Boma to TA Mkondowe.
Despite the challenges, DoDMA and councils are working tirelessly to reach beneficiaries in the most hard to reach areas. Currently, as of 14th February, 2022 the department, through councils, had finalised distributing maize to beneficiaries in Chitipa, Karonga, Rumphi, Mzuzu City, Nkhata Bay, Salima, Ntchisi, Mchinji, Mwanza and Thyolo.
Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba has since commended DoDMA staff, councils and partners for their efforts in reaching out to food insecure households under the MVAC Humanitarian Response Programme despite the challenges being encountered.