Jauary 23, 2015 - Malawi Flood Disaster Update #2
Malawi Flood Disaster
by David & Joanna Morrison
Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Thankfully we’ve had a week of mostly dry weather, providing much better conditions to assist in the relief effort. We are grateful for your prayers and support. Iris staff and missionaries have been working hard to get much needed resources to the victims of the flood, as well as visiting the camps to pray and encourage those who are stranded there.
As the rivers returned to their normal rainy season levels, the land has revealed the violent destruction caused by the violent flood surge. There has been severe damage to infrastructure: homes, schools, medical clinics, roads, bridges, live-stock, and crops; much has been washed away. The new bridge leading east out of Bangula was found 12 km’s down river in Pokera. The official death toll is 200 but still there are over a hundred people missing. 200,000 Malawians have been displaced. Helicopters are flying resources daily into the areas that are still inaccessible by boat or road.
22 camps, now housing 68,000 displaced people have been established in the Nsanje district. 27,600 are children, and 618 of the 10,740 displaced households are headed by children. Their parents have either died or they are stranded at another camp. There are more camps in the neighbouring district of Chikhwawa directly north of us. Most of the camps have been established at public primary schools so school children are still suspended from classes.
[Children sleep at one of the Bangula camps for the displaced where more tents are needed.]
This past week we have been actively distributing in coordination with officials from the District Commissioner’s office, food and resources that we have had in reserve here on the base. We are going through our clothes and food on the base, to give to those who have greater need. Some has been flown by military helicopters to displaced camps across the Shire River, but the majority is being transported by our Iris trucks to camps accessible by the M1 highway. Today, we are distributing rice/soy meals and soap at two camps in the southern area of the district. The pastors from the bible school have been a tremendous help distributing relief goods but more importantly ministering to people in the camps. Tears well up as people tell their stories of the terror that they experienced last week. One mother gave birth in the flood waters. Both mother and baby have survived, but the mother has terrible sores as a result of being submersed in the water for two days. Others testify that they thought they were going to die as they held branches with all their might, watching bodies flow past them below in the waters. We ask that the Lord will shine his light through us and bring healing to the people who have suffered so terribly. We pray that God’s love will be known, not only through the love expressed in sharing our food, but by the anointing power of the Holy Spirit.
The electrical power on the base has been restored but we are dealing with prolonged blackouts due to problems at the main electrical plant that is unable to produce its capacity. Load sharing of power is in effect, which means less power for everyone. On Wednesday this past week I had the opportunity to meet the Malawi President and the First Lady as they arrived to visit the camps here in Bangula. I was asked by the District Commissioner to brief the President on behalf of the NGO’s working on the ground here about the impact of this devastating flood. I shared from my experiences as one of the first responders in the boat last Tuesday. I pledged our commitment to continue to help the people of Malawi through this calamity so they can once again stand on their own.
[The new road heading east from Bangula ends just 300 metres from town. The raging current ripped apart the railroad line and washed the road away.]
Thank you for the financial support that has been coming which is enabling us to purchase food, soap, blankets, children’s porridge, cups, plates, cooking pots, buckets, and water purification tablets. Helping the flood victims survive is going to take much more support. If you would like to help the Malawi disaster relief, you can make a donation through Iris Ministries Canada www.irismin.ca, Iris Ministries UK email@example.com, or Global IRIS USA www.irisglobal.org. Designate your gift ‘Malawi Disaster Relief.’ We really appreciate your help.