Saturday, January 27, 2007

Twenty Villages Washed Away

“Severe Flooding in Karonga, Malawi”, according to Action by Churches Together International (ACT)—an information network serving the humanitarian community. Twenty African villages near where CitiHope delivers food and medicine, have been washed away by the January floods. Here’s the story:

Geneva, 26 January 2007 - Flash floods have left thousands of people homeless and crops washed away in the Karonga district, about 300 km north of the capital Lilongwe, Malawi. According to KarongaDistrict Commissioner, more than 20 villages have been completely flattened by the floods.

In Karonga-Nyungwe, an area where ACT member Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP)Development Department of Synod of Livingstonia is present, more than 400 mm to 500 mm of rain fell for 10 hours non-stop from 22 to 23 January. Rains started at around 9a.m. from the eastern side to 1p.m. on 22 January. This was followed by a second phase of heavy downfall from the western side of the area, the Nyika highlands, causing the highlands to release a heavy flush of water flowing at avery high speed towards the affected villages. The flash floods have destroyed crops, houses,bridges and livestock.

A preliminary assessment by the ACT member in the affected villages in the area - Mchekacheka, Kaswera 1 and 2, Mlongoti, Mdoka, Maulunge and Masoyafwire - revealed that those whose houses have been destroyed are now homeless and have lost all their property including food, kitchen utensils,clothes and blankets. According to the assessment, the floods have destroyed approximately 77 hectares of maize fields.

The floods have also severely damaged rice and cassava fields. Households in Mchekacheka, forexample, have lost livestock such as chickens, pigs and cattle. It was difficult to have exact figures from other villages as roads linking to those villages are not functioning due to broken bridges caused by the floods. To date, affected families have not received any assistance apart from their neighbors helping them evacuate.

CCAP Development Department of Synod of Livingstonia intends to accompany the affected families in this time through the provision of food, inputs to replace the lost crops, shelter and kitchen utensils. CCAP Development Department of Synod of Livingstonia is further assessing the needs following the flood and has indicated that a Rapid Response Fund request may be submitted within the next few days.