Malawi

World Vision assists earthquake survivors in northern Malawi; appeals for additional funding

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World Vision Malawi continues to assist earthquake survivors in the northern District of Karonga, after last Sunday's quake, which measured 6.2 on the Richter Scale, resulting in 3 deaths and injuring around 200 people. The Malawi Government has since declared Karonga a National Disaster Area, and approximately 5,000 households remain in urgent need of humanitarian aid. Initial assessments indicate that 2,786 children under 5 are affected by the disaster.

The Government has released a special appeal for NGOs, the international community and the private sector to support the affected community by providing items such as tents, food, disinfectants for water treatment, blankets, and utensils.

World Vision's immediate assistance has included the provision of 500 mosquito bed nets and 186 waterguard units. It has also provided fuel and logistics for the initial rapid response assessments and is now tasked with coordinating relief activities in one of five designated humanitarian emergency zones. Assessments will be complete by early next week.

The disaster has not directly affected World Vision's projects in the area, but the organization has mobilized staff around the emergency response activities, working in close collaboration with the Government, UN and NGO partners. This week, it will also deploy humanitarian emergency workers from other parts of the country to help with the needs assessment.

"There are obvious and urgent needs for thousands of households in Karonga, including water, food and shelter," said Mr John Mandere, Associate Director Operations North for World Vision Malawi. "As well, with the rainy season already here and most residents sleeping outside their homes for fear of structures collapsing on them, we are very concerned about the high risk of malaria, especially amongst young children," he added.

The wide spread disruption to infrastructure in Karonga District has also put 270,000 people at risk of cholera, as communities have been forced to draw water from unprotected wells.

World Vision's priority is saving lives of children by ensuring that minimum requirements for their survival in these difficult times are provided. It joins the Government appeal for additional funding and support for the people of Karonga District, especially vulnerable children.

The 20 December earthquake which measured 6.2 is the fourth in Karonga this month. The first struck on 6 December, measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale Another followed 48 hours later - at 5.8 on the Richter Scale and killing a small child. The third quake hit on 12 December, measuring 5.9.

ENDS

For further information on World Vision Malawi's response to the Karonga earthquake, please contact:

Mr John Mandere, Associate Director Operations North: +265 888832240

Lawrence Mtimaunenenji, Acting Communications Manager (all media enquiries): +265 888955109

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.