Church calls for more concerted response to Cyclone Ana Disaster

Church calls for more concerted response to Cyclone Ana Disaster

National Director of social services under the episcopal conference of Malawi, Fr Chigamba, has appealed for more concerted efforts in responding to the impact of the Cyclone Ana that ravaged several districts in the Southern Part of Malawi. He made the call during a visit to some of the hard-hit areas of Chikwawa district.

According to Fr Chigamba, the storm has drifted many communities into states of ruins; compromising almost each and every aspect of life. This in his view demands for more collaboration amongst various stakeholders in addressing both short-term and long-term impact of the disaster.

“The recent heavy downpour has indeed wreaked havoc and rendered many people destitute. The tales of the affected people in the two camps we visited are quite paralyzing. urgently, we have to attend to the immediate needs of the people and these include food and clothes. At the same time, we also have to address the long-term adversities within sectors of education and social welfare, just to mention”

“Looking at this precarious situation we, the non-state actors, need to collaborate in order to address all these afflictions”

Fr Chigamba said

The visit was organized by ECM through CADECOM to appreciate the damage caused by the disaster for possible interventions. It certainly conjured images of despair with many houses tossed to the ground and fields of crops swept away. A visit to Bereu police camp which accommodates about 230 people revealed that the victims do not even have food for the next day.

It also appears that the storm had a heavy blow on education with many schools in the affected areas yet to reopen for classes. Headteacher for Nasanja primary school, Gerald Malunga, has cast doubt over immediate resumption of classes.

“We are trying our best to resume normal classes, but many of our learning materials including text books and chalk were washed away. The walls of the classrooms also pose risks of collapsing. Even the learners lost their exercise books in their homes”

CADECOM National Coordinator, Chimwemwe Sekunda has hence called on government to expedite its post disaster recovery programs in order to achieve a quick restoration of normalcy. She has also appealed to all people of good will to make donations through the commission.

Delegates having an interface meeting with some of the displaced families

Echoing the need for concerted efforts, CCJP National Coordinal Coordinator, Boniface Chibwana added that issues of human Rights also ought to be given a birds’ eye attention.

“Where we have a disaster of this magnitude, issues of rights violations can be very common. For example, in the camps we have visited there are young girls who are currently not attending classes and lacking basic needs. Our worry is that some people may want to take advantage of their situation and entice them.  Eventually issues of early marriages and pregnancies may crop in in these camps”

Chibwana has hence challenged other non-state actors to visit the affected camps and appreciate the situation and eventually collaborate after setting right priorities.

A damaged headteacher’s office at one of the schools

The cyclone Ana hailstorm has displaced over 25 thousand households and damaged over a thousand hectares of crop fields in Chikwawa. To this date, 13 people are confirmed dead while 19 are still missing.