Thea Mawaya, the Foundation’s programmes manager made the remarks in Chikwawa during an assessment of the floods situation.
She told MBC Online: “The field team will continue to monitor the developments in order to alert the supporters so that funds for disaster relief can be raised in time and accurate support can be provided.
“Stephanos focuses on sustainable support in order to provide the affected area a hand up other than a hand out,” Mawaya said.
MBC Online reported recently that over flooding of Mwanza and Ruo rivers due to the heavy downpour Upper Shire has been experiencing since January 20 has affected over 600 households in Chikwawa and Nsanje.
Kanseche road in T/A Maseya submerged in water
District Commissioner for Chikwawa, Ali Phiri, who acknowledged the ravage caused by floods in some parts of Chikwawa and Nsanje but was quick to refer us to assistant disaster risk reduction officer, Francis Kadzokoya, who was also on the ground doing comprehensive situational analysis.
“It is true Chikwawa has been affected by flush floods. Right now we are at Chankhwazi area where over 160 households are desolate but we are going to release a comprehensive report soon as water continues over flowing in several parts of the district. The council has commenced temporal relief interventions by supplying blankets but definitely some items for survival like maize flour, beddings, temporarly shelter will be required,” said Kadzokoya.
At Sekeni 2 Village, in Paramount Chief Lundu’s area, one Fraser William lamented that his house has been rendered inhabitable by the rising water level.
“You can appreciate that currently the water level is almost hip high and the rains are still falling I don’t know what will become of us. Our crops have also been washed away,” said William.
Chikwawa and Nsanje districts are categorized as red flags in disaster management cycles as they are low lying and prone to hunger, outbreak of pest and diseases, drought and floods among other disasters.
Geographically, Chikwawa is said to have merely an elevation of 318 feet above sea level.
The plight of people in Chikwawa and Nsanje hit record high in 2015 when the country experienced devastating floods where 1.1 million people became destitute in their own country due to the floods that also claimed 106 people.
A repeat of the sad story was last year between 5-8 March, when floods claimed over 70 lives, ravaged 14 districts rendering close to 900,000 people homeless.
Villagers at Sekeni 2 queue up for relief maize
Currently, a non-governmental organisation Khalsa Aid has started distributing food relief in the district.
Last year, Stephanos Foundation reached out to over 500 households with building materials, bags of maize (the country’s staple food), blankets and other household items.
Stephanos Foundation operates in four districts in the south - Blantyre, Chikwawa, Thyolo and Zomba - covering key areas of education, economic empowerment and food security.