United Nations agencies in Malawi have started providing aid to victims from Tropical Storm Ana, which killed scores of people across southeastern Africa and left tens of thousands homeless.
The UN Children’s Fund (Unicef), has provided personal hygiene and water treatment kits to approximately 15 000 people.
But Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera says more assistance is needed.
The latest report from Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) says the floods killed 38 people, displaced more than 100 000 and affected nearly 200 000 households in the country.
The storm also damaged at least 19 health facilities, destroying medicines and cold chain equipment.
Mohamed Fall, Unicef regional director for eastern and southern Africa, visited flood hit areas last week.
“For the moment, our focus is on life-saving commodities namely those which help for water, for sanitation, nonfood items, probably also some tents, latrines, cleaning stuff. Also, because I am sure that with water levels dropping, resettlement will be a challenge,” he said.
Fall notes that the destruction of water and sanitation facilities puts children and their families at risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera.
Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced Wednesday that it has set aside an initial amount of $500 000 (about K425 million) for relief assistance to the flood victims.
WFP country director Paul Turnbull states: “As part of our immediate response, WFP is providing corn-soya bran to some 21 000 households, around 95 000 people in four most affected districts of Chikwawa, Mulanje, Nsanje and Phalombe. Distribution started yesterday on February 1,” he said.
Turnbull added the WFP is currently prioritising displaced people living in temporary shelters as it looks for additional resources to scale up its response.
Charles Kalemba, commissioner of Dodma, told a press conference Tuesday that the relief efforts are hampered by lack of funding despite several government appeals for financial assistance.
During his tour to affected areas last Tuesday, President Lazarus Chakwera called for more assistance to help thousands of Malawians affected by floods in over half of the country’s 28 districts.
Chakwera said, “As we continue asking for more assistance from our partners, we should also make sure that in our national budget this year, we should allocate some to help rebuild public infrastructures destroyed by the storm.”
Tropical Storm Ana has killed at least 20 people in Mozambique and 48 people in Madagascar.
Chakwera said he will soon meet with African Union Heads of State to ask for support in aiding areas affected by the storm.
Unicef dispatches life-saving supplies
Unicef has provided water, sanitation and hygiene supplies, including items for personal hygiene and water treatment chemicals to about 15 000 flood victims Nsanje and Chikwawa districts.
An additional batch of mobile toilets, buckets, soap and recreational kits for children has been dispatched.
The effects of Tropical Storm Ana have claimed 38 lives, affected over 200 558 households and displaced over 100 000 people.
Unicef also supported the rescue mission using a boat operating in the Nsanje.
The storm has damaged 19 health facilities, destroying medicines and cold chain. Houses have been destroyed, leading to the displacement of families. Water and sanitation facilities have been destroyed, increasing the risk of water and sanitation-related disease.
Unicef is participating in the assessment led by the Dodma, supporting Wash, education, protection, nutrition clusters and health and logistic teams.
Unicef regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa Mohamed Fall said during a weeklong visit: “The destruction of water and sanitation facilities puts children and their families at risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera.
“We will continue to support communities, schools, health-care facilities and public spaces by collaborating with partners to ensure the needs of even the hardest-to-reach families are met,”
Fall said the risk of violence, including sexual abuse and exploitation as well as separation of children from their caregivers, is worsened by humanitarian emergencies.