Feeding families after Malawi floods

“For most people in this situation, what they had is completely gone. It’s not part of the house, or a roof or a wall, it’s everything.” Our Country Director in Malawi tells us how communities have been affected by the recent flooding. 

Back to all stories | Posted on 22 Mar 2019 in News

Mary’s Meals is currently providing food to 17,172 men, women and children in Malawi who are taking shelter in primary schools after being forced from their homes because of severe rainfall and flooding.

The south of Malawi was hit by flooding as a result of tropical cyclones at the beginning of March. It is reported that at least 56 people have died in Malawi since the floods struck.

A building in Zomba district which was destroyed by the floods.

Our staff have been working with communities to assess the damage to schools and identify how we can help the children and families affected.

Mary’s Meals’ Country Director in Malawi, Bart Rombaut, witnessed the impact of the flooding first-hand and is working with his team to coordinate Mary’s Meal’s response to the emergency.

He said: “The storm hit very hard. We talked about what we could do to keep our promise to keep feeding the children during this terrible time of loss, and also recognise the need at family level.

“People hit by this are not in the bigger towns, but in villages. The kind of houses they have are not prepared for tropical storms. For most people in this situation, what they had is completely gone. It’s not part of the house, or a roof or a wall, it’s everything.

“Families will go home and try to recover what’s not completely destroyed. Maybe a few goats have survived, or a few small things.”

We currently provide a daily school meal to more than 1,000,000 children in Malawi. Assessing the impact of the floods on our school feeding programme was made difficult at first by the continuing rains and inaccessibility of roads and communities.

Chief Executive Janet Haugh said: “Mary’s Meals is committed to supporting the affected communities as they rebuild their lives. The provision of a daily meal in school is even more important during this time of disaster.”

Mary’s Meals also works in Zimbabwe, but our feeding programme is not located in a part of the country affected by severe rain, winds or flooding. Our thoughts go out to those who have been affected in Zimbabwe, Malawi and elsewhere in southern Africa.