Cyclone Freddy Survivors

As Cyclone Freddy tore through Malawi, its heavy rains and fierce winds left a trail of destruction in its wake. Among the hardest hit were older people, who now find themselves grappling with the loss of their homes, livelihoods, and loved ones. With no choice but to seek refuge in overcrowded camps, they face an uncertain future and rely heavily on government and aid agencies for support.

Margret Banda

The 65 year old mother of seven and grandmother of four together with her husband, 78 year old retired civil servant had built a decent life for themselves. They had a house of their own and a small business selling a variety of household commodities and farm produce.

“Despite the financial challenges that the ordinary Malawian is facing, my husband and I had built a decent life and we were content with what we had,” she says.

Margret Banda

However, on the evening of 13 March 2023, they lost everything they had except the clothes they were wearing. The densely populated community experienced severe mudslides caused by cyclone Freddy in Southern Malawi.

We had heard from the radio about a cyclone that will cause heavy rains in Blantyre, but we did not think of the impending doom to our household, we thought the house was strong enough and would withstand the heavy rains as it did with cyclone Ana designated camps.

Since we arrived, there was a squander for resources, we had to stand in long lines to get clean water from boreholes, because of this, we were forced some to skip bathing, washing our clothes, washing hands and cleaning kitchen utensils. The latrine situation wasn’t any better, at our home, my husband a special toilet build to support his bad knees, but this was not the case at the camp. My husband and I together with our grandchildren decided to leave the camp and build a make-shift home while we find a lo lasting solution

Prisca’s recurring nightmare

Prisca Kumbikani, 65, is all too familiar with the destruction caused by cyclones, having experienced it four times, including this year’s Cyclone Freddy. The storm claimed her home, as well as maize and cassava crops. Prisca and her five-year-old granddaughter, whom she cares for, now live in the Manja Primary School camp. Faced with the loss of her farming and brick-making income, Prisca fears she will no longer be able to send her granddaughter to school.

This is the fourth time my home has been destroyed.”

Esme’s heart-breaking loss

Esme’s six-year-old grandson is now missing and feared dead Esme, a 68-year-old woman, lost her home as the cyclone’s torrential rains washed it away. She and her family, including her daughter and two grandchildren, barely managed to escape the deluge. Tragically, Esme’s six-year-old grandson is now missing and feared dead. Living in difficult conditions in an overcrowded camp, Esme is no longer able to earn a living by washing clothes, and her family struggles to access food and clean water.

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