February 10 2015

SOS Malawi: Children, parents cut-off by floods

Thousands of children in flood-stricken Malawi are separated from their parents, as homes have collapsed. SOS Children´s Villages teams respond to president´s call for help.

10 February 2015 – Torrential rain, hailstorms and flash flooding since early January have displaced more than 336,000 people in the south of Malawi, according to the latest UN figures.

SOS Children's Villages Malawi is focusing relief efforts in disaster areas around Blantyre and Ngabu, in the south. The team is working to reunite children with their families.
Malawi's President Peter Mutharika has declared 15 of the country's 28 districts disaster areas, calling on the international community for urgent help.
SOS Children's Villages has stepped forward and is helping children in dire need of food, protection and shelter, especially in the areas around Blantyre and Ngabu in the far south.
At least 876 boys and 804 girls from communities around Blantyre and Ngabu were separated from their families due to flooding, according to Phillip Tegha, Family Strengthening Coordinator for SOS Children's Villages Malawi.
“What this means, in fact, is that boys and girls are not currently living under the same roof as their parents because after their own houses collapsed in the floods they were placed with neighbours who still had a roof over their head,” said Tegha.
Following rapid needs assessments in Blantyre and Ngabu, the SOS Malawi team has begun the work of reunifying children and parents separated because of flooding.
“We are pushing for interventions to reunify families – which means [providing] proper shelter, food and access to medical care,” said Tegha.

Preventing the spread of malaria and cholera is a top concern, as stagnant water left over from floods is attracting mosquitos, and thousands of children and adults are now living outside, without mosquito nets or clean drinking water.
According to Eye Witness News (EWN) last month a majority of children under the age of five in the flood-affected areas was being treated for diarrhoea.
As much as 80% of the children in Nsanje who were tested for malaria by Medécin sans Frontières have tested positive, reported Al Jazeera last week.

Forecasts predict the severe weather may continue in coming weeks, intensifying the dangerous situation for thousands of children.

Learn more about SOS Children's Villages' work in Malawi.