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Malawi floods: Ireland sends humanitarian aid for displaced persons

Emergencies, Environmental/Climate Change, News/feature, Ireland, Malawi, 2015
Malawi Dedza district fruit market during rain

The Irish government is committed to aiding those displaced by the Malawi floods

Ireland has dispached emergency humanitarian aid to Malawi.

Heavy rainfall has flooded southern Malawi, leaving an estimated 174,000 people displaced and 638,000 people affected. Ireland has dispatched 58 tonnes of emergency humanitarian supplies such as blankets, tents, mosquito nets, soap and jerry cans from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai.

The emergency supplies - worth €500,000 - have been distributed by Irish Aid’s partners – including Concern Worldwide, Concern Universal, GOAL, Trocaire and the Evangelical Association of Malawi - to help displaced families in the worst affected districts in southern Malawi.

A state of emergency has been declared in 15 of Malawi’s 28 districts. The floods have damaged roads and bridges, and farmland and homes have been submerged. Most of those displaced are living in displacement sites such as churches, schools, community buildings and camps.

The displacement sites are crowded, with a lack of basic services such as water, sanitation and hygiene, raising concerns over possible disease outbreaks. Health centres are also damaged, and many centres lack the staff or medical supplies to cope with the crisis.

Ireland has dispatch 58 tonnes of essential emergency supplies to Malawi

Other flooding issues include education and food security. Many students are unable to attend school, with many schools in use as relocation sites for displaced people.

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for Malawi’s rural population. But with thousands of hectares of  flooded cropland,  destroyed crops and dead livestock, the ability of smallholder farmers to grow food for their families and communities has been severely impacted, which may lead to malnutrition and food security issues.

Announcing the airlift, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan explained that “this emergency airlift is in addition to Ireland’s long term programme of assistance to development in Malawi.”

“Our programme supports some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in Malawi to cope with the effects of climatic and other shocks and works to improve food and nutrition security.”

Minister of State for Overseas Development, Seán Sherlock highlighted that the rains are expected to continue for the next two months, and posed considerable risks to the population.

“There is a growing concern of the outbreak of diseases, given the poor sanitary and drainage conditions at emergency sites.  We are monitoring the situation closely through our Ambassador in Lilongwe. I am concerned that the situation may worsen in some areas and that the number of affected people is likely to rise.”

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