Helping Residents Rebuild After Tropical Cyclone Freddy
When Tropical Cyclone Freddy tore through districts in the southern region of Malawi in March of this year, residents were faced with devastating rains, floods, and mudslides.
Tragically, over 1,200 people in Malawi were killed, with many more injured, and hundreds of thousands forced to flee their homes into displacement camps across the 14 affected districts.
Amongst the displaced were hundreds of pregnant women who are now giving birth in the camps. Shamila (pictured above with her mother, Ruth) is one of the babies who was born at Kachulu camp in Zomba.
Her mother Ruth explains, “I was eight months pregnant when I came to the camp in March. Our community was completely submerged in water, and we had no option but to run for safety. I came to this camp with only one piece of clothing on my body and three weeks later, I gave birth to my fourth child, Shamila. I wish to go back home to raise Shamila in a home and let her explore the world”.
The Habitat for Humanity team on the ground in Malawi is working to support Ruth and her children. They are currently supporting the family, and thousands of other families in desperate need, with emergency shelter kits that help them to build transitional homes whilst they work towards more permanent housing under our Pathways to Permanence approach. This approach works to support victims of disasters into immediate temporary shelter, through to helping them back into a permanent, safe home.
Additionally, two flood rescue centres in the flood-prone regions of Nkhwazi and Bester that were funded by one of corporate partners, Lloyd’s, have been providing much-needed support to local families. During disasters, these rescue centres are a vital community-hub, providing families with support and shelter.
Both centres were at maximum capacity during Cyclone Freddy, helping to protect hundreds of lives as residents took shelter inside. The rescue centres are also put to use year-round by providing residents with training on flood risks as well as materials and tools to help families ‘disaster proof’ their homes.
We will of course be continuing to monitor the recovery efforts in Malawi to ensure we can provide essential housing support to as many families as possible.