The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates that a total of 1.6 million people have been affected in the three countries. The damage in Chimanimani district is massive, with many roads completely wiped away for several kilometres, and the only way to reach some communities is now by foot or by air. Ninety percent of the area around Beira has been damaged, with roads, electricity and communications systems having been cut off. Buildings have been submerged and severely damaged; many people are staying with family or friends or in transit centres because their homes are uninhabitable. Flooding affected the majority of Nsanje district, in southern Malawi; rains have now largely stopped and access to the flooded areas is improving and we are to see the extent of the damage.
While clean-up efforts by communities are underway, clearing the streets of debris and uprooted trees, extensive repair work to buildings and infrastructure is much needed. The flooded area is massive, extending beyond the direct path of the cyclone. Hundreds of homes were flattened by large rocks and mudslide from a nearby mountain, burying some residents, who never stood a chance as the cyclone unleashed its fury at night when most were sleeping.
Many small villages have been completely devastated by the recent floods. People have lost their homes, their belongings and their whole means of livelihood. Small and farming businesses and home industries have been badly hit, with huge losses in property and investment. The people in Cyclone-affected areas need more than immediate material support and financial assistance. They need long-term comprehensive support to put their lives back together.
Noah and the flood: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease”. (Gen 8:22)