ACT Alert Malawi 1/2001: ACT members are assisting flood victims

News and Press Release
Originally published
ACT members in Malawi are responding to the floods that have affected 13 districts in all three regions of the country. Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD) has provided tents to families who have been made homeless. The Evangelical Lutheran Development Programme (ELDP), working closely together with the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is distributing clothes and blankets. ACT is releasing 20,000 USD in rapid response funds to LWF/ELDP for assisting the victims.
Reports say that more than 200,000 people have been affected by the floods in Malawi which have been caused by swelling rivers arising from the incessant rains which started mid January. The affected areas are Nsanje, Chikwawa, Mangochi, Phalombe and Blantyre in the southern region, Salima and Nkhotakota in the central region, and Karonga and Nkhata Bay in the northern region.

The most affected district is Nsanje where 22,454 families have been rendered homeless and five people have lsot their lives. Many more people are feared dead from crocodiles which have been let loose by the swelling rivers. So far most of those affected in Nsanje have sought refuge at the district headquartes. Reports say that thousands have been accommodated in public buildings, including schools and churches. There are fears that lack of sanitation facilities for such a multitude of people could cause an outbreak of cholera and dysentery.

Many of the affected areas are still unaccessible by road due to comprehensive flood damage to roadfs and bridges. Consequently, government, district authorities, UN agencies and NGOs have been unable to get a complete picture of the situation, and many areas are still not accessible by road. The two ACT members, CARD and ELDP, are coordinating their response and assessing the situation in close contact with government officials and other NGOs and are preparing a proposal for an ACT Appeal. At the moment we have not enough stocks of relief material to deal with a disaster of this scale, says an ELDP representative.

Extensive damage has been done to property such as livestock, crops and household utensils. Many houses have been swept off by the floods or destroyed by heavy rainfall. Of immediate requirement are food items and household utensils. The affected areas are also prone to the outbreak of water-borne diseases therefore the provision of drugs and sanitation facilities are equally important. At many places there is a need to shift people upland which requires the provision of tents.

Thank you for your attention.

For further information please contact:

ACT Co-ordinator, Thor-Arne Prois (phone ++41 22 791 6033 or mobile phone ++ 41 79 203 6055)
ACT Appeals Officer, John Nduna (phone +41 22 791 6040)

ACT is a worldwide network of churches and related agencies meeting human need through coordinated emergency response.The ACT Coordinating Office is based with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) in Switzerland.

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