Gift of the Givers Distribution in Malawi Commences

Malawi is facing probably the greatest flood disaster in the history of its existence. Continuous rain and the "baby" Cyclone Bansi has resulted in President Mutharika declaring 15 of the 28 national districts disaster zones and has called for international assistance. The areas affected are predominantly in the Shire Valley and the south and include Nsanje, Chikwawa, Blantyre, Balaka, Zomba, Chiradzulu, Phalombe, Machinga, Mangochi, Thyolo, Salima, Mzimba, Nkhatabay, Nkhotakota and Karonga

The Malawi Defence Force has already rescued more than 4000 people with the fear that many more are trapped in inaccessible areas. Thus far 200 000 people have been displaced, 11000 homes have been damaged and 173 are confirmed dead. The death toll is expected to rise as it is believed that 183 people have been swept away from one village alone. Massive destruction to agriculture, roads, bridges and general infrastructure including power facilities has complicated the situation due to prolonged power outages.

There is a danger of a cholera outbreak and other water borne diseases due to the absence of clean drinking water and sewerage contamination.  However, the major threat now is the arrival of tropical Cyclone Chedza on Sunday, 18 January 2015, and is expected to be far more destructive than Cyclone Bansi bringing more heavy rains and greater flooding. Gift of the Givers has put water rescue teams from South Africa on standby for this eventuality. Medical teams are also ready if required.

Through our offices in Malawi (we are there for 10 years already) distribution of a R500 aid package per family commenced yesterday. Items include staple food, blankets, eating utensils, water purification tablets and plastic sheeting. This morning an 8 member team has left for the south to reach areas more than 100km away from Blantyre. Distribution will be carried out in Chikwana, Nsanje, Mangochi, Machinga, Balaka, Zomba, Phalombe and Mulanje.

Members of the public are welcome to contribute to the relief effort. Cash contributions into Gift of the Givers, Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account No. 052137228, Branch Code 057525. Please send deposit slip by email or fax with full details for acknowledgement purpose. New items in kind are also welcome. Maize, flour, rice, beans, oil, sugar, tinned food, baby food, energy biscuits, tea, detergents, personal hygiene items, clothing, shoes, diapers, sanitary pads, pots, eating utensils, towels, linen, candles, plastic sheeting, mattresses, water purification tablets and mosquito nets are all welcome. For details call toll free 0800786911.

The Malawi Embassy in South Africa has extended full support to us through its First Secretary, Mr Kumbukani Kuntiya, for which we are very grateful.

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