The relief support in Chilaweni by AMAKE
* After consulting the Blantyre District Council they were advised to select from several of unattended evacuation camps in rural areas
* We chose Chilaweni just by random and when we visited the area for assessment, we agreed that we made the right choice
* We discovered that the bridge for the access road to this area — from the main one towards Lunzu — was cut off by the floods
By Duncan Mlanjira
As attention by corporates, stakeholders and other development partners is focused on visible areas of Blantyre City — which were hard hit by flash floods caused by effects of Cyclone Freddy — Association of Malawians in Kenya (AMAKE) decided to reach out to unattended to survivors in Blantyre Rural areas of Chilaweni.
The survivors there, totaling 497 as of Friday and rising, are accommodated at community based organisation (CBO) centre managed by traditional leaders.
Acting on behalf of AMAKE back home, Mwayi Kumpumula, Tawina Mbengo and Mphatso Hanjahanja received a relief package of 50 bags (10kgs each) and 500 blankets and after consulting the Blantyre District Council they were advised to select from several of unattended evacuation camps in Blantyre rural areas.
“We chose Chilaweni just by random and when we visited the area for assessment, we agreed that we made the right choice,” Kumpumula. “We discovered that the bridge for the access road to this area — from the main one towards Lunzu — was cut off by the floods.
“Thus wellwishers were unable to reach out to these survivors and we wanted them to be visible enough for more support from other stakeholders.
“We were given the nod by AMAKE that we come and present this support to this camp at Chilaweni CBO, whose leaders will distribute to other camps across the river, who couldn’t make it here,” Kumpumula said on Friday at the official handover.
The AMAKE entourage was taken through the tour of the camp by the centre’s secretary, Ibrahim Austin Kalonga, who appraised them that since Tuesday when they started arriving, the parents were surviving through pumpkins and boiled fresh maize while the children was through porridge, whose maize flour was donated by a community volunteer.
“We are thus very grateful that you decided to reach out to us despite the challenges you faced to access us through the tough alternative route you used.
“We pray that through you, we will be able to get more assistance because the challenges we are facing here are so many and that more survivors will keep coming because more houses keeping falling down as we are speaking.”
In an interview from Kenya, AMAKE’s chairperson, Chiku Kalilombe said they just had to render their support having learnt of the catastrophe that had befallen their compatriots back home.
“Instead of each one of us going at it alone, we thought that jointly we could do more,” he said. “AMAKE dates back several years, 15 or so. It’s basically a grouping intended to ensure Malawians and relations network whilst in Kenya in both celebrations and times of sorrow.
“So we organize activities and also participate in international activities as a unit with teams, amongst other others. Most recent was a response towards the fight against CoVID-19 through which we raised funds to help in areas needing intervention.
“We also helped Malawians, including patients and students, who were stranded in Kenya when the country was on CoVID-19 lockdown by finding accommodation for the interim and then helped organize alternative travel back home.”
He added that the grouping has estimated 400 members when students are included, saying: “We help each other on welfare plans when unfortunate incidents occur as well assisting new people to settle in”.
“We facilitate sourcing of supplies from home and many others. We also are now engaging more with authorities to raise matters affecting diaspora and also try to participate in economic developments back home.”
The grouping executive committee comprises Kalilombe as the chairperson; Lovemore Kamchira (treasurer); Daniel Njiwa (vice-treasurer); Dr. Paul Thangata (secretary); Clement Kalonga (publicity secretary); with ordinary committee members being Patrick Kanyimbo, Enesiya Muithiya and Mary Pendame.
Student representatives are Brenda Gunde, Naomi Msiska, Tapiwa Mfune, Ruth Salanga, Richard Hammela and Adam Kangu.