Concern Program Manager Tommy Chimpanzi leading a team to assess the damage done by flood waters in Nsanje district of southern Malawi.
Concern Program Manager Tommy Chimpanzi, leading a team to assess the damage done by flood waters in Nsanje district of southern Malawi. (Photo: Concern Worldwide)

Concern Supports Those Left Homeless By Storm in Malawi

Concern Worldwide has launched an emergency response to help over 400,000 people whose homes have been destroyed or damaged by Tropical Storm Ana which swept through the south of the country this week.

The high winds and widespread flooding resulted in at least 20 deaths and extensive infrastructural damage. The scale of the storm’s impact is expected to rise in the coming days as relief workers reach villages currently cut off by floodwaters and collapsed roads and bridges.

“The high winds ripped roofs off homes and blew down walls,” Concern’s Country Director Yousaf Jogezai said. “In other cases structures collapsed as a result of the heavy rainfall.”

An estimated 70,000 people are currently sheltering in churches and schools. A search and rescue operation is underway for people reported to be cut off by floodwaters, with the Malawi defense forces providing boats and aircraft.

Concern’s team is on the ground, distributing plastic sheeting, mosquito nets, blankets, soap, and essential household items.

“Many people have lost everything,” Mr. Jogezai said. Concern and other humanitarian agencies are also continuing to work with the government to assess the full scale of the damage.

More rain is forecast in the coming days, swelling rivers that drain into already flooded areas.

Mr. Jogezai noted that the heavy rains would also damage the maize harvest – a key element of the staple diet in Malawi – and result in food insecurity in the coming months.

The World Bank lists Malawi amongst the top 10 nations to be worst affected by climate change and is experiencing extreme weather. The country was already facing difficulties due to drought conditions in recent months. Combined, these double disasters will have a significant impact on food security in 2022 and beyond, Mr. Jogezai said.