* First activated its flood victims support plan by reaching out to its affected Nchalo Estate staff and surrounding areas
* And carried it forward to Blantyre for Chilobwe, Ndirande, Machinjiri and Lunzu
* It is not an easy time, but I believe that if we all come together as a nation, we can overcome this challenge
* It is pleasing to note that many organisations and individuals are already doing so much to rally behind victim support initiatives
By Duncan Mlanjira
As the corporate world, NGOs and development partners join government in alleviating the trauma that people are going through after they were left homeless through the devastation from flash floods due to effects of Cyclone Freddy, Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc has committed a total of K100 million in relief packages for survivors in evacuation camps.
On Thursday, Illovo Sugar Malawi first activated its flood victims support plan by reaching out to its affected Nchalo Estate staff and surrounding areas and carried it forward to Blantyre for Chilobwe, Ndirande, Machinjiri and Lunzu.
Illovo Sugar Managing Director, Lekani Katandula said the support plan was initiated soon after it was announced by the Department of Climate Change & Meteorological Services that Cyclone Freddy was likely to affect Southern Malawi — thus they put in place measures to support its employees as well as villages immediately surrounding its operations in Nchalo.
Katandula maintains that its Nchalo Estate team in Chikwawa was on high alert right from the start when the Met Department warned of the impending tropical storm with safety measures in place to protect employees and operations during this disaster.
On his visit at an evacuation camp set up at Makata Primary School in Ndirande on Saturday where the company supplied 125 bales of sugar and 100 blankets for over 104 survivors, Katandula emphasized the response was also in line with their theme of ‘Creating a Thriving Community’ and an appreciation that its the same people who support their business.
The supplies were received by Blantyre City Council CEO, Dennis Chinseu and the area’s Member of Parliament, Ismail Rizzq Mkumba (Blantyre Malabada Constituency) and while applauding Illovo for the support, the Legislator said they first had lost hope of being assisted.
Other camps visited were Manja and Lunzu and in total, Illovo Sugar Malawi has committed 20 tons of sugar and 250 blankets. Lunzu alone has over 12 evacuation camps, whose provisions were handed over at Lunzu Catholic Primary School.
Katandula comforted the survivors, saying they should thank God, the Almighty, for sparing their lives, telling them that out of the high figure of 438 that lost their lives, they should consider themselves lucky to be still alive.
“Our concentration should now be how we can build back our lives,” he said. “Let’s focus on how we can take of our our kids now that we have lost our homes.
“It’s the same God who will take care of us which is happening through various support from all partners and stakeholders. It is not an easy time, but I believe that if we all come together as a nation, we can overcome this challenge.
“It is pleasing to note that many organisations and individuals are already doing so much to rally behind victim support initiatives. These are our everyday heroes, and we commend them.”
He also hinting that as people rebuild, they should consider where they went wrong and how they can strengthen their infrastructure.
“These disasters are coming because of climate change, since 2018, we’ve experienced cyclones that has disrupted our lives and unless we do not take care of our environment, these cyclones will continue to hit us hard.”
At Nchalo Estate, the company provided essential supplies such as maize flour, soya pieces, cooking oil, salt, beans, soap tablets, buckets, mosquito nets, water guard, tents, and sanitary pads.
“The company is also currently providing potable water to the victims and surrounding communities,” Katandula said. “Meanwhile, we are also waiting for further damage assessment especially of infrastructure to provide the necessary support and mitigations.”
As part of preparedness as Cyclone Freddy was in transit towards Southern Malawi, Illovo Sugar Malawi handed over 6,250 blankets to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) at a total cost of K40 million — in fulfilment of a commitment which the company made during the Presidential Golf tournament, which was held on October 8, 2022.
“The handover has been timely as this will also go towards the victims,” Katandula said. “As a business, Illovo Sugar Malawi is committed to ensuring the creation of a thriving Malawian community and that this includes responding to challenges which may threaten that objective.”
For further information on Cyclone Freddy and the weather in general, the public is advised to contact:
The Director; Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services; P.O. Box 1808; Blantyre Tel:( 265) 882 266 579
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/malawi.weather WhatsApp: +265 995 155 050
Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange with 76% of the issued share capital held by the Illovo group and the balance by public and other institutional investors.
The corporate office is based at Limbe with two operations at Nchalo in the south of Malawi and Dwangwa in the mid-central region, producing sugar cane and raw and refined sugar, together with specialty sugars at Nchalo.
Illovo Malawi is the country’s sole sugar producer with more than 70% of total sugar sales sold to domestic consumer and industrial markets, and the balance exported to preferential markets in the EU and the USA, and the surrounding region.