January 25, 2012 Flood Update
Dear Friends of the Morrison’s and the Iris Africa Team in Malawi:
As many of you already know, the Bangula region of southern Malawi was devastated by flash flooding a few days ago that caused havoc throughout the local villages and left hundreds of families homeless with little left but the clothes on their backs. The depth of water streaming through the Bangula market area was over four feet high, crashing through shops, destroying merchandise, and collapsing buildings. The intense rains washed away homes and the meager belongings of thousands of Malawians who struggle to live on less than two dollars a day in the best of times.
[Bangula market shop damaged. Water line mark still on wall of shop]
David and Joanna Morrison (“Mo & Jo”), along with their Iris Africa team of Malawian leaders and fellow missionaries, responded immediately to this crisis in their community with what modest food reserves they had on hand. And thanks to those who answered our initial appeal for help over the weekend, they were able to purchase maize, beans and soap this morning and distribute a week’s worth of emergency relief to more than 400 households in cooperation with local government leaders (see the Tuesday Jan 24th update below).
On the first response day, Mo wrote:
The people of Bangula and local leaders are enormously appreciative of the help we're providing since Iris is the only group here so far that is able to respond to the immediate needs of those who've lost virtually everything. A local news reporter asked us (Mo and Peter, his Malawian colleague) why Iris Africa was doing this and we were able to reply, "as Christians, we're just trying to love our neighbours as ourselves..."
We are most grateful for the initial outpouring of compassion for those affected by this disaster. However the need to care for these wonderful, warm-hearted people of southern Malawi will require a substantial and ongoing financial commitment over the next several months as they recover and rebuild their lives. Indeed, the full scope of this crisis is still being measured and many more families and villages will undoubtedly be added to a growing list of the most needy. Please consider what you can give now and if possible, over the next few months.
If you would like to financially support the ongoing relief work, please refer to our "Contact & Support" page or use the "Donate now" link, posted under the "News Alert" section of our home page.
January 24, 2012 - David Morrison writes:
Iris Africa Begins to Deliver Flood Relief:
Thank you so much for your prayers and for the quick response providing some immediate funds to assist the flood victims here in southern Malawi. With what has been pledged thus far, we were able to purchase 5,000 kgs of maize, 550 kgs of beans, and 450 bars of soap this morning.
[Three basins of maize and two cups of beans]
[Malawian woman waiting for her name to be called]
Initial Aid for More than 400 Households:
We distributed these basic provisions to 417 families and they were so grateful. Each family received approximately 12 kgs of maize, 1kg of beans and a bar of soap. The distribution was done in full cooperation with the officials from the District Commissioner’s Office, and the senior village chiefs. We were also assisted by the Bangula police who provided protection and helped to maintain order which, for the most part, was very good.
To ensure the best use of our resources, the beneficiaries had already been registered on the official disaster management record held by the District Commissioner’s office. And while what we distributed today will only sustain each family for about 4-7 days, it has been very gratefully received and Iris Africa is being highly regarded by local leaders for their exemplary response to this crisis.
Earlier today we could see and hear helicopters flying around the Mukhanga area which is just across the river from Bangula. It is a dangerous flooding situation there because of the great volume of water pouring down the swollen Shire and Ruo rivers (the Ruo river borders Malawi and Mozambique). Government officials were surveying the area but they also used the helicopter to rescue people from their flooded homes. I don’t have any more information about this rescue effort at this time.
The official number of people who have had their homes completely destroyed was approximately 420 as of the weekend, but the number keeps rising. By Monday we had received another 108 mm of rain in addition to the initial 115mm on Thursday afternoon. Many other homes are disintegrating in these wet conditions. Some of the homes that were only damaged during Thursday’s rain are too weak to stand and are crumbling.
The good news is that we haven’t had any rain in 24 hours. It’s still overcast, but it looks likes it is finally clearing and things can begin to dry out. This weather disturbance was influenced by cyclone Funso that was in the Indian Ocean between Madagascar and Mozambique. It is now heading away from us in a southerly direction.
On the base, a large portion of one of our brick fences collapsed during the night. It was a brick fence inside the base, not an outer security wall. This morning we rebuilt the portion of the outer security wall that collapsed yesterday.
Our daughter Kalina came down with something is still feeling sick – she’s been in bed for two days now. Jo is also a little under the weather too, but we are continuing to take extra precautions to guard ourselves from the cholera outbreak that had already been affecting the region before the flooding began.
Thank you again for all your suppport!