Dowa District, Malawi … The rains came down in torrents, washing away crops, damaging the fragile mud construction of village huts, and sections of M-5, the tarmac link between the lakeshore trading center of Salima, and the commercial center of Blantyre were washed away. This was not Freddy, the catastrophic cyclone that struck southern Malawi in March of last year, but it was still a major storm for many who suffered from its onslaught this past weekend.

The rain, and the ensuing floods, also caused major damage in and around the Mponela Trading Center 1-hour and 15-minutes north of Lilongwe. In the path of the storm major damage occurred to crops, roads were cut, and bridges were washed away. People died trying to cross swollen streams, and over 500 households lost their crops. It was a grim reminder of the cyclone that struck southeastern Malawi in March of last year.

Action for Progress has requested aid from the Malawi Project, and its contributors, to re-establish a drip irrigation program to assist farm communities when rains are sporadic and insufficient. Global warming is having a devastating effect on a part of the world that cannot disastrous crop shortages, or destructive floods. This will develop a second, controlled harvest during the time fields are normally dormant and cropless.

After major famine struck Malawi in 2001-03 the Malawi Project instituted drip irrigation programs to 11,000 farm families. While plans for the current program are on a smaller scale than in 01-03, this new program is projected to expand as contributors see the need and help increase the program.

Picture: As seen with Freddy slightly over a year ago, the fields in the Dowa District this week show the results of the high winds, rains, and floods from the weekend storms.

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