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Malawi floods: Food security a major concern

Days of torrential rain have swept away roads, bridges and thousands of hectares of crops.

Rescue organisation Gift of the Givers hand out food parcels to some of the 200,000 people who have been displaced by flash floods in Malawi on 19 January 2014. Picture: Gift of the Givers
Malawi,Malawi floods,Rescue South Africa
World

JOHANNESBURG - As torrential rains continue to lash Malawi and a new cyclone is set to make landfall soon, food security has become a major concern in that country.

Flash floods caused by days of torrential rain have swept away roads and bridges, destroyed thousands of hectares of crops and raised fears of a cholera outbreak in the southern half of the country.

More than 200 people are confirmed dead and many are missing or trapped in inaccessible areas. 

The floods have also left crops and farm land in 15 out of 28 districts under water.

The bulk of Malawi’s incomes from agriculture and subsistence farmers around the country and there are concerns that the population won’t receive enough food.

The Gift of the Givers’ Gaffar Jakhura says while they can provide instant food and vaccination relief parcels, the country is still at a high risk.

“It’s a population, made up of 17 million people in the rural areas. Most farmers have lost their crops.”’

Rescue organisation Gift of the Givers hand out food parcels to some of the 200,000 people who have been displaced by flash floods in Malawi on 19 January 2014. Picture: Gift of the Givers    

The rescue service says the rains are expected to continue across the country.

It’s also feared that the spread of disease can claim more lived due to contamination. 

MALAWI FLOODS: RESCUE SA RECEIVES RELIEF AID DONATIONS 

As a team of officials from Rescue South Africa begin packing medical supplies and gear to go to flood-stricken Malawi, the organisation is still calling for more donations.

The team says it has enough funds to get to Malawi, but say they have a long way to go in providing adequate assistance.

Rescue organisation Gift of the Givers hand out food parcels to some of the 200,000 people who have been displaced by flash floods in Malawi on 19 January 2014. Picture: Gift of the Givers

Staff are expected to be deployed in the next two days to assist in the rescue operation to help more than 200,000 displaced people.

Rescue South Africa CEO Ian Scher says, “We received a very generous donation from Old Mutual and have undertaken to make the arrangements tomorrow by giving us money towards the costs of going to Malawi and going to assist.”

Tens of thousands of people have been displaced as the torrential rain continues in Malawi and Mozambique. Picture: @GiftAkefe, Twitter. 

Relief group, the Gift of the Givers, who are stationed in Malawi say the situation has also destroyed the long term livelihood of the country as most crops are now under the water.

The crop damage has raised fears of a poor harvest. Last year, Malawi’s farmers harvested 3.9 million tonnes of the staple crop, maize, providing a surplus of almost one million tonnes.

Rescue organisation Gift of the Givers hand out food parcels to some of the 200,000 people who have been displaced by flash floods in Malawi on 19 January 2014. Picture: Gift of the Givers

Jakhura yesterday described the flooding as the worst disaster in Malawi’s history.

“The situation is tragic and we’ve never had such a flood disaster in Malawi.”

The group and other local organisations have been handing out relief parcels with food and disease vaccinations.


Neighbouring Mozambique has also been badly hit, with a major road destroyed and the South African National Defence Force helping to search for missing people.

Free-standing images by: Gift of the Givers

(Edited by Gadeeja Abbas)

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