The state of the Lower Shire
* Members to contact vice-chairperson Andy Chokotho on 07741698850 and treasurer Jack Chitedze (07375570793)
* Once they gather the items together for volunteers to come and collect for onward shipping to Malawi
By Duncan Mlanjira
Following the floods that devastated many parts of the Southern Region due to Tropical Cyclone Ana that prompted President Lazarus Chakwera to declare it a state of natural disaster, Malawi UK Military Community (MUMCo) is mobilising its members to donate relief items in form of clothes and other essential items such as shoes, beddings, and baby wear.
In a statement issued by chairperson, Bruno Kantiki says the relief efforts will be distributed to the most vulnerable communities living in remote areas, which were hardest hit by the tropical storm.
The members are encouraged to gather as much items as they could and store them which shall be collected by volunteers in the next seven days or so for onward shipment to Malawi.
“Time is of essence and critical, but we would like to do things properly,” Kantiki said while advising the members to contact vice-chairperson Andy Chokotho on 07741698850 — who is lead co-ordinator assisted by the treasurer Jack Chitedze (07375570793) once they gather the items together.
The devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Ana, which hit the country hard on January 24-25, caused floods in most parts of the Southern Region, destroyed roads, bridges, homes and electricity power lines and many other structures.
The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has since described Cyclone Ana as the biggest disaster to hit Malawi, saying it is worse than Cyclone Idai which hit the nation in 2020.
The Department’s Commissioner, Charles Kalemba said the rain caused by Tropical Cyclone Ana registered over 400 millimeters in 24 hours that caused a lot of damage to houses, roads and infrastructure while Cyclone Idai registered about 250 millimeters of rain in three days.
Kalemba applauded well-wishers who are coming forward to help people who have been displaced and are living in camps.
“I must say since the President declared as state of disaster in the districts that have been affected by the floods and heavy rains, we have received positive response from well-wishers,” he told Malawi News Agency (MANA).
He also commended Malawi Government, Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) and Gift of the Givers for their assistance from the day the cyclone hit the area.
Kalemba further said there is need for roads to be reconstructed as soon as possible so that transportation of relief items could be eased as currently, DoDMA is using boats and aeroplanes to transport relief items.
Malawi Red Cross Society, Malawi Relief Fund UK, Gift of the Givers and several other have already arrived in affected areas for their assistance since the day the cyclone hit the Lower Shire, the hardest hit.
Malawi Red Cross Society director of programmes, Prisca Chisala told MANA that they have managed to distribute tents, buckets, soap, and CoVID-19 protective gears to the affected to help ease the situation and is also working with government in the search and rescue operation for those missing.
Currently, 107, 000 households have been affected, 25 have died, three people are missing and 1,150 people have been injured.
The most affected districts are Chikwawa, Nsanje, Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Mulanje, Phalombe, Zomba, Machinga, Mangochi, Ntcheu, Dedza and Mchinji.
Thus MUMCo informs its members that at their meeting on Sunday, they discussed the situation in Malawi and offer as much help as they can to the affected people and families.
“This is the moment that our desperate brothers and sisters in Malawi need us most,” Kantiki said. We also would like to ask for willing volunteers to organise in collecting or offering to store some of the relief items in one location from within the geographical region where most Malawians currently live in — Garrisons of Tidworth, Aldershot, Catterick, Colchester, Scotland, Wales etc.
“Let’s work as a team and family. Nobody can predict where or when the next disaster will strike. Reports are also emerging that another storm coming from the Indian Ocean (currently forming) will hit the same region in days.
“It is our prayer that aid will reach those who are exposed and despairing as MUMCo always stands by those in distress back home,” he said.