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MWA Members Respond to the 2001 Floods

Early in the year 2001, Malawi experienced one of the worst floods in the country’s history. Particularly hard-hit were Chikwawa and Nsanje districts. Many were killed and over 60,000 families displaced, narrowly escaping death as receding river waters washed away their homes. They fled with livestock and belongings strapped to their backs in search of water, food and shelter.

During the emergency phase of the relief efforts, the Malawi Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and other relief agencies, worked tirelessly to provide the displaced with temporary shelter and food. Still, concerns loomed over the long-term effects of the floods. Crops were lost, latrines destroyed and wells contaminated, leaving victims without access to safe water and food supplies. Members of the Malawi Washington Association (MWA) also grew increasingly concerned about the plight of the displaced, and decided to act. They investigated the work of several organizations and their response to this catastrophe. They felt that the Malawi Red Cross and IFRC had one of the most comprehensive short and long-term plans to help the victims of the floods.

The Malawi Red Cross and IFRC initiated a six-month operation to assist 20,000 of the most vulnerable victims. They appealed for $1.5 million to help pay for shelter, household items, drinking water, basic health care and sanitation facilities, and to ultimately help rebuild the lives of the victims. By way of personal appeals at the spring General Meeting, Benefit Reception, and e-mail alerts, MWA members and friends raised $1,000.00 in support of the Malawi Red Cross and IFRC initiative. The funds were forwarded to the IFRC towards the end of their six-month appeal.

The Executive Committee would like to thank all members and friends who made contributions towards this effort. We will continue to update you on the progress of the relief efforts via this website.

Malawi Washington Association