Help GAIA provide relief from the devastating impact of Tropical Cyclone Freddy

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Published On:

November 29, 2023

As southern Malawi begins to stabilize following the worst natural disaster the country has experienced, people across Malawi remain in mourning. 

By the Numbers

A draft situation report released by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) shows that:

  • up to 2.2 million people have been affected by Cyclone Freddy
  • 676 have been killed
  • 538 are missing – many of them feared to have been buried in the mudslides and rubble of collapsed buildings or washed away
  • up to 2,000 people suffered injuries
  • over 760 evacuation camps are hosting over 650,000 people that have been displaced in the affected districts
  • up to 405 kilometers of road infrastructure have been damaged
  • 63 health facilities and close to a million water and sanitation facilities have been affected
  • over 2 million farmers have lost their crops and livestock
  • over 179,000 hectares of crop fields have been destroyed.

The GAIA team has been able to access roughly 50% of our regular Mobile Health Clinic sites, and continues to operate clinics at the Displaced Persons Camps, as well as on weekends.

A huge thanks to GAIA’s supporters who have donated to our emergency relief fund. With your support we’ve been able to quickly respond to the urgent needs identified by the team in Malawi.  Additional support will be required in the coming weeks and months as we resume full community-based operations (while continuing with displacement camp operations) and begin to address the reality of a record hunger season due to the widespread flood damage to subsistence farmland. Thank you for standing with the people of Malawi during these difficult times.

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MARCH 21, 2023 UPDATE:

Rains from Cyclone Freddy, the longest in recorded history, have begun to subside and Malawians are beginning to start assessing the damage. The government reports that 363,000 people have been displaced, most of whom are sheltering at one of the 505 hastily established displacement camps. The news has reported at least 447 confirmed deaths, and 282 people still missing in southern Malawi, with numbers expected to increase.

Our Country Director Joyce Jere and senior leadership team went to Phalombe on Friday to meet with GAIA staff and assess the extent of damage. She also visited some of the supported field work and met with impacted villagers. In the photo below, Joyce visits with children who fled their homes during the flooding to reach higher ground on the mountain with their parents to wait out the heavy rain.

GAIA clinics will begin supporting camps in Phalombe this week (joining similar efforts begun in Mulanje last week); our team met with the District Health Office to coordinate efforts.

In addition to delivering clinical care at the camps, GAIA support to District Health Offices so far has included:

  • Delivery of drugs at displacement campsites and health facilities via GAIA ambulance
  • ART clinics at local health facilities
  • Regular GAIA mobile health clinics in accessible villages

The GAIA U.S. team is doing everything we can to raise funds to help with immediate needs: food, water, medical supplies, tents, blankets, flashlights, dignity kits, hand washing baskets, bath soap, mosquito nets, mobile toilets, vehicle parts, fuel, and much more. We’ve also incurred substantial costs providing housing, meals, and stipends to the seven GAIA staff and their families now residing in a local hotel, and equipment damaged during the flooding and its aftermath.

You can help us support GAIA Malawi’s efforts by donating here.

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MARCH 15, 2023 UPDATE:

As reported, at least 190 people are confirmed dead, and Malawi’s president has called a state of disaster in all of the districts where GAIA works. The GAIA Malawi team is tired and deeply affected by the death and destruction they are witnessing.

GAIA Country Director Joyce Jere visited some of the evacuees in Mulanje today and shared that "the people are strong but full of tears."

Please help us show support by donating today.

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Malawi is reeling from an unprecedented and catastrophic cyclone that has already killed hundreds due to strong winds causing damage to roads and buildings, severe flooding, and mudslides. Many of GAIA’s staff in Phalombe district have had to be evacuated from their homes, including one who required a rescue by a rope through deep water. In the last 48 hours, the southern region of the country has received 12-16 inches of rain, with continued rain forecasted for tomorrow.

Currently our Mobile Health Clinics and staff have been activated to support regional rescue efforts and provide medical care in displacement camps throughout Mulanje District. Additional interventions will be added over the coming days.

Urgent funding for supplies, temporary housing, fuel and vehicle parts for rescue efforts and so much more are needed immediately.

You can help us support the GAIA Malawi team’s efforts by clicking the button below to donate now.

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women carrying water pales