January 13, 2015 - Devastating Flooding in southern Malawi

There is severe flooding in Bangula, Malawi, where our Iris base is located.  David Morrison, base director writes:

“Flooding is at a scale here in Malawi that we have never experienced before. Yesterday morning we received the news of entire villages being underwater and people stranded in trees and on top of ant hills. The District Commissioner asked Iris to help with rescuing people. Our two Iris boats were piloted by me and David Walker (another of our missionaries). David had a marine police officer with him and I had one of our house fathers to help navigate. We put the boats in just off the main road in downtown Bangula, as that area is all flooded. The market area of Bangula has water half way up the buildings. Several villages in Bangula are underwater."

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[David Morrison with one of our Iris boats.]

"Thousands of homes washed away, as well as livestock, crops. We set out yesterday morning and it took a couple hours to navigate across the elephant marsh, with treacherous currents to the other side of the river, and floating debris. We managed to rescue about 75 people who were in trees or on top of ant hills with strong current and deep water surrounding them. We filled our boats and moved them to a higher piece of land within the village. They are still at risk as they are cut off from the rest of Malawi on islands, but they are alive. Our mission yesterday was simply to rescue as many as possible. We could not reach more before the end of the day. We left hundreds still stranded, some in waste high water.  The District Commissioner wants us out there again tomorrow morning to continue. Many lives are being taken by the floods. What we saw today was frightening. And it is still raining.”

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[Group of people from James Village marooned on a small piece of land in their village above the flood waters.  Deep water with raging current surrounding them.  It was late in the day and we could only rescue a few.  Had to leave the others.]

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[Rescued this elderly woman who was sitting in her wheel chair, on top of a termite ant hill just big enough to  keep her above the raging flood waters.]

Please pray with for the people of this land, and consider supporting the vast needs that will follow.  We have set up an online “Malawi Flood Relief” fund.

When we asked David to comment (after a long day and night of seeing the devastation and beginning rescue efforts), his response was “we are going to be continually bombarded with requests from people who have lost absolutely everything. The priority now is simply to assist saving lives.”

It’s hard to grasp from our vantage point here how much of life in Africa is taken up with just surviving and coping….

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