The bottom dropped out of the sky, and rain came down in torrents. For hours it poured. There were few places to which one could find relief as the water surged through valleys and into villages. Streets in Malawi’s commercial center were impassable, and the only grace was in climbing up nearby hillsides. Roads began to collapse, and bridges disappeared in the deluge. This was not like other storms, it was the longest running cyclone in history, and the President would later refer to it as equal to an entire hurricane season in North America.
Mud hut, thatch roof homes began to melt away in the storm. The torrents of water that pushed through villages weakened the soil and soon the houses were collapsing, one after another. As the rains continued the deluge of water began washing away entire villages. Captured in the explosion of water were entire families, houses, possessions, and crops. Nothing was left standing where villages and families once lived. Over 2 million have been displaced, many now for nearly two months.
Action for Progress was on the move even before the rains had completely ended. Two recent shipments from the states, one of food from Nebraska, and the other of clothing much of it donated by Walmart Corporation had reached the distribution hub in Lilongwe. It was safe from the destruction taking place in the south, and the AfP team sprang into action immediately upon receiving the news of the devastation that had been visited on the most heavily populated part of the nation. A 10-ton truck, purchased just months earlier, was brought to the warehouse door and quickly filled with relief supplies.
Wilson Tembo, Executive Director for Action for Progress, sister organization to the Malawi Project,expressed pride in his team and the way they jumped into action and into a situation like no other they had ever experienced. He reports,
“When we arrived at one Camp where victims were sheltered, Traditional Authority Mtumbwinda said, ‘You are the first organization to come to our rescue. These people have had no food for the past days since the storm hit us. Your support for food, clothes and beddings will save lives. We are very thankful.’ The donations we delivered that day were given to over a nine thousand people. The destruction we witnessed is the worst disaster I have ever seen.”
While the news of the cyclone has passed from the headlines of the world press there are still thousands of people suffering the loss of life, homes, livelihoods, food storage, and their entire village and support base. The Malawi Project through Action for Progress continues to gather needed supplies and funding to obtain food and other of life’s necessities. If you wish to assist in this area and need more information, please write to us at: email@example.com
In the picture Chester Kabinda-Mbewe, chairperson for Action for Progress bends to help an old man gather the things donated to him and nine thousand other people.