Funds urgently needed for relief operations in storm-hit Malawi - Stuart Brown

Two months after the last of the world leaders’ jumbo-jets left Glasgow and the grid-iron security of the UN’s climate summit COP-26, Tropical Storm Ana struck Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi.

Stuart Brown, Deputy Chief executive, The Scotland Malawi Partnership
Stuart Brown, Deputy Chief executive, The Scotland Malawi Partnership

The region is no stranger to these increasingly erratic and devastating weather patterns. Here the impacts of climate change are all too tangible, the deluge of Storm Ana taking away human life, homes and the hope of agrarian nations being able to feed families and communities where life is, in so many respects, fragile.

In Malawi, the Government’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) recorded multiple injuries. Over 30 people tragically lost their lives and many remain missing. Mulanje in Southern Malawi was particularly affected. The scale of the impact in Malawi is felt most acutely in the impact on infrastructure: crops and livestock, roads and bridges washed away; nationwide power outages and homes obliterated like matchsticks. Over 190,000 households have been displaced affecting more than 870,000 people – that’s almost twice the population of the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

Were the nations where power, money and influence on climate change to reside as much in the eye of the storm as countries like Malawi, might we not be requiring more urgent action? Our children and young people have been telling us as plainly as possible that time is running out. The Scottish Government-funded 2050 Climate Group and the Malawi Scotland Partnership’s Malawi Climate Leaders Project https://www.2050.scot/malawi supports the ambition, innovation and passion of young people in Malawi to help be catalysts of their nation’s trajectory and create a climate resilient future. During COP-26, Malawi’s President Chakwera took time to meet groups in Scotland working on climate change between the two nations and to listen in a live link with Malawi’s capital Lilongwe to the priorities of Malawi’s Young Climate Leaders.

The Malawian Government were swift to respond to Tropical Storm Ana, President Chakwera declaring a state of national disaster and initiating a relief response. National and international aid agencies are also provided essential support but more immediate and longer-term support for recovery is urgently needed in some areas. Over 120 temporary camps have been set up in 13 affected councils, with the Malawi Red Cross providing accommodation in tents in six affected districts with many people seeking refuge in churches, schools and wherever shelter is possible. A nation which relies on its own subsistence farming, Malawi is now heading into the traditionally ‘lean season’, its principal crop of maize which had just been sewn being, like so many Malawian families, uprooted.

The Malawian Diaspora are amongst many groups and charities in Scotland who have set-up urgent appeals to support displaced and stricken people. Funds are badly needed for national and local relief operations in Malawi to be able to provide tents and tarpaulins for makeshift shelters, blankets, food and cooking utensils; for first aid clinics to treat the injured and to provide and maintain water, sanitation and hygiene. Working closely and in solidarity with our friends in Malawi, we encourage all who can please to support the relief efforts. For more information and on ways you can donate and help, please visit: www.tinyurl.com/StormAna

Stuart Brown, Deputy Chief executive, The Scotland Malawi Partnership

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