One month after the passage of Tropical Cyclone Freddy—which swept through 15 districts in southern Malawi, destroying lives, livelihoods and homes—communities ravaged by the storm still require urgent assistance and support as they strive to survive the aftermath of the devastating floods and mudslides.
“In the weeks since this tragedy struck, I have been absolutely inspired by the many people who have helped their neighbours and fellow Malawians impacted by Tropical Cyclone Freddy,” said the United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator, Rebecca Adda-Dontoh. “In support of these incredible communities and the Government-led response, 60 UN agencies and non-governmental organizations have provided life-saving assistance to people affected by the disaster. However, much more remains to be done.”
Since 12 March, close to 230,000 people have been reached with vital assistance and support, including food for the most vulnerable people, safe water and sanitation facilities and hygiene services, access to health care, including sexual and reproductive health, and emergency shelter, such as tents and tarpaulin.
This has included the airlifting of relief, especially food, to areas that remain cut off or difficult to reach by road. However, with humanitarian partners’ Flash Appeal for Malawi less than 11 per cent funded, there are critical gaps in the response and additional contributions are urgently required for humanitarian partners to scale-up assistance, in support of the Government-led response. Humanitarian partners in Malawi are committed to a response that places people at the center and have zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse.
“Despite our best efforts, tens of thousands of people are still without adequate shelter. We also need to step-up the provision of clean water, sanitation and hygiene, especially in light of the cholera outbreak.
And we need to ensure that women and children, in particular, are protected from violence, exploitation and abuse, given the many risks generated by this crisis,” said Ms. Adda-Dontoh. “Our response in the first 30 days was made possible by the support of the international community, who have so far generously contributed US$7.6 million. I am today calling on donors to redouble their support to fill the critical shortfalls in funding so that we can do even more in the month ahead.”
Malawi is one of the countries that have been hardest-hit by the increased rainfall accompanying tropical cyclones in Southern Africa as a result of human-induced climate change, according to a recent research. Yet, the country contributes just 0.04 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Tropical Cyclone Freddy—which killed over 1,000 people—is a devastating reminder of the human cost of the global climate crisis.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).