Malawi

Quakes bring misery to thousands in Malawi

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Tearfund is dispatching =A320,000 to help recovery efforts in Malawi after a series of earthquakes brought devastation to thousands of people.

Nearly 800 homes were destroyed and more than 1,100 others have been left uninhabitable after tremors in the northern district of Karonga.

Three people died and 250 others are recovering from injuries following three weeks of seismic activity, which included one quake measuring 6.2 on the Richter Scale.

Tearfund partner, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian Synod of Livingstonia, estimates more than 16,000 people have been affected by the disaster over an area of 125 square miles.

It is planning to provide food, water, utensils and shelter for the next three months to help thousands of vulnerable Malawians, such as children and the elderly, who are facing hardship.

Unprecedented

Earthquakes of such magnitude and frequency are unprecedented in this area and many buildings are not built to withstand such shocks.

The extent of the destruction has led Malawi's president to declare a state of emergency in Karonga.

People have been left so fearful of further tremors that they have resorted to sleeping outdoors. With the rainy season expected to start soon, tents are needed urgently.

Public buildings have also been affected. Patients have been evacuated from Karonga District Hospital, while classes in most schools have been postponed until safety checks are carried out.

Clean water is scarce after the quake disrupted supplies and there are fears that disease could spread.