Cyclone FREDDY and its Devasting Impacts in Malawi

January 24th, 2023

On March 11, Malawi was shaken by the landing of the Tropical Cyclone Freddy bringing with it devastating rains, floods and mudslides in Southern Malawi killing at least 400 people, injuring over 900 and displacing over 340,000 people as of 17th March. There are a total of 505 Camps that have been established to date.

The devastating effects were first felt in the City of Blantyre and these moved and intensified in Mulanje, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Zomba, Nsanje and Chikwawa destroying entire villages, bridges, schools, hospitals border posts and farmer fields. In a blink of an eye, families lost loved ones, fields, and in that second plunged into hopelessness.

Due to the large-scale impact, His Excellency, the President of Malawi declared a State of Disaster for the Southern region and called for concerted efforts to rescue those trapped, to care and nature of the injured and to provide immediate survival provisions like shelter, clothing, and plan for a rebuilding framework. Fourteen days of national mourning are being observed from 16th March to 29th March in Malawi.

How have our partners been affected?

In RS! The affected districts of Mulanje, Thyolo and Blantyre are where the Tea industry has its base and consequently the tea smallholders and tea workers have been hard hit.

As of 16th March, 2023, the National Smallholder Tea Growers Association provided initial statistics as follows;

  • 960 houses damaged
  • 1178 people affected directly
  • 13 reported death within smallholders tea growers
  • 20 tea fields washed away
  • 299 fields of other crops washed out-maize

The displaced families are seeking shelter in schools.

For the Rural Women Assembly, the majority of the affected are in the district of Mulanje where houses and fields have been washed away. We are still working with the Rural Women Assembly to count the losses.

What can be done?

The immediate needs are support towards shelter (tents), utensils, blankets, food packs

In RS! Support can be channeled through the Tea Association of Malawi and donate at one of the temporary shelters.

For livelihoods, noting that food fields have been washed away, support can be channeled towards winter cropping and purchases of sweet potato vines.

Basic Things needed in Camps

For more information and how to support, contact Tea Association of Malawi Industry Secretary, Flemings Mwenibabu on  fmwenibabu@teamalawi.com or +265 888 3742 43

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