The Alumni presenting their support to DoDMA
* TNM Plc helps Malawi Red Cross Society to physically distribute relief items to Chikwawa survivors
By Memory Chatonda, MANA & Duncan Mlanjira, Maravi Express
Kamuzu Academy Alumni Association Thursday donated relief items worth K5 million to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) that included contributions to buy 468 blankets, 1,508 plates and 400 buckets to assist the displaced people for the short-term period to assist survivors of Tropical Cyclone Freddy.
Speaking during the handover ceremony in Blantyre, the Association’s chairperson, Hilda Singo said they decided to render a helping hand taking cognizance that in one way or another, the Alumni have been affected because some of the members, friends and relatives live in the areas that have been affected as well.
“We were touched when we learnt about this devastation that occurred in a number of districts in the Southern Region,” she said. “The survivors have lost houses, shelter, food and clothes.
In her vote of thanks, DoDMA’s chief disaster preparedness officer, Natasha Mbengo commended Kamuzu Academy Alumni Association for the gesture, saying: “We have some people in camps that do not have blankets to cover themselves up thereby exposing themselves to various ailments like malaria.
“So we are grateful with the donation of blankets and of course the buckets and plates.”
She appealed to well-wishers to assist DoDMA with the provision of tents to relocate the survivors from school premises.
Meanwhile, Malawi’s pioneer mobile network and ICT services provider, TNM Plc assisted Malawi Red Cross to physically distribute relief items to the people affected with the Tropical Cyclone Freddy at Savala Camp in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mankhwira, Chikwawa District.
The distribution exercise comes barely a week after TNM announced donated cheque worth K20 million to Malawi Red Cross Society towards the cause in the Southern Region.
TNMs Head of Brand and Marketing, Madalitso Jonazi said the exercise reaffirms TNMs commitment to stand with the government and all key stakeholders in helping the affected people.
“Following the devastating Cyclone Freddy, victims are in desperate need for shelter, energy food, medicines, and basic sanitation.
Clearly, the challenge before us is enormous, and we at TNM pledge our continued support to help those affected and in pain.
“Today we are distributing these items to Malawians because they are an integral part of the growth of our business and the nation at large.
“We will continue to work with various agencies to help the victims recover quickly,” Jonazi said.
He added that TNM is working with the Red Cross Society because of the charity’s vast experience in managing resources meant for disasters, including the mutual working relationships that TNM has from previous relief activities.
“We have a working relationship with Malawi Red Cross Society which dates back from a long time. The institution has vast experience in handling humanitarian efforts,” he said.
Highlighting the magnitude of the damaged cause by Cyclone Freddy, Deputy Minister of Local Government, Owen Chomanika said Chikwawa’s East Bank has been severely affected.
“Overall, the impact has been severe but Lower Shire has a lot of damage affecting roads and households.
“However, Chikwawa East has been most hit with more than 40,000 households that have been displaced,” he said.
Thus Chomanika thanked TNM Plc for becoming first corporate brand to visit Savala Camp, saying such a holistic approach is complimenting governments efforts.
“On behalf of Government, I would like to thank TNM for their perseverance to reach this camp, such relentless passion is what we need.
“We are happy with such gesture because it resonates with the Tigwirane Manja’ initiative the President is preaching,” he said.
Statistics from DODMA as of Wednesday, indicate that the flash floods due to the cyclone claimed a death toll of 511 with 1,332 injured while the number of reported missing persons is at 533 from 537.
The number of displaced people is at 562,415 with 576 camps set to accommodate the displaced.
DoDMA continues to remind the public, development partners and all stakeholders that affected people in clusters (sector working groups), require various relief items such as:
* Shelter (tarpaulin (4x6m), family tents/big tents; plastic sheet (120 micron), blankets, sleeping mats);
* Protection (clothes, lighting lamps, dignity kits);
* Heath (mosquito nets, mobile clinic services;
* Non-food items (plates, cups, pots);
* WASH (mobile toilets, water treatment chemicals, soap, buckets);
* Food & nutrition (maize/maize flour); corn soya blend, ready to use therapeutic food, cooking oil, pulses (beans, peas etc), soya pieces dry fish/kapenta, sugar, salt).
Meanwhile, on his assessment visit in Thyolo on Friday, Vice-President Saulos Chilima called on communities to embrace banana farming as a way of preventing future disasters.
On his stopover at Mathiya and Molele evacuation camps to appreciate the extent of damages caused by Cyclone Freddy, Chilima said: “As we are mourning the losses we have incurred due to the disaster, let us reflect on what we can do to rebuild our lives.
“One such important aspect is restoring the vegetation cover to prevent future incidences like these. If we could cover up all bare land with bananas, vetiver grass and trees, some of these incidences can be history.”
Chilima stressed on the need for the people of Thyolo of taking advantage of the misfortune by planting bananas as they do well in the district, thereby preventing water runoff.
Senior Chief Thukuta thanked government and the Member of Parliament for Thyolo South, Mabvuto Scott for assisting those affected with shelter, food and other materials.
“Most of these people have lost everything they had. They needed someone to look after them. We appreciate the assistance we have been receiving. It’s not enough but we are able to get by the day,” he said.
Thyolo District recorded 16 deaths with over 8,000 households affected and currently has 60 camps.—Additional reporting by Brenda Nkosi, MANA