IOM distributes flood assistance funds in Malawi

27th January 2016 Adam Pitt

The International Organisation for Migration in Malawi has distributed cash grants to families affected by the 2015 floods in some of the hardest hit districts, almost a year after heavy rains hit the south of the country and caused the displacement of a quarter of a million people.

“We know that people in these communities lost their homes and basic household items during the floods in 2015,” declared Sikhulile Dhlamini, Officer in Charge at the International Organisation for Migration in Malawi. “We hope that the cash will assist in reducing their vulnerability to illness and other social challenges. The International Organisation for Migration will continue to assist them with shelter support and improved sanitation and safe water supply.”

As of 20 May 2015, approximately 26,100 households–an estimated 107,000 people–remained displaced in six districts, and with many still feeling the affects of the floods at the start of 2016, the one-off payments of approximately US$130 have been given to 150 internally displaced families in some of the hardest hit districts of Nsanje, Zomba, Chikwawa, and Phalombe.

In distributing the funds, the International Organisation for Migration received guidance from Malawi’s Disaster Management Affairs Department on the most vulnerable households. They include households headed by the elderly, children, chronically ill, disabled, and vulnerable single parents. In all, more than 750 people are expected to benefit directly from the grants.

“With this money I will replace some items that I lost during the floods and also start a fish selling business so I can provide food for my family,” said Bula Bula of Chikwawa.

Funding for the initiative was provided by the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department, and complements on-going efforts being made by the Malawian government to support families still reeling from the devastating effects of the 2015 floods.

Estimates at the time suggested that it would cost US$51 million to repair the damage caused by flooding, which affected over 64,000 hectares of land and led President Peter Mutharika to declare half of the landlocked country in southern Africa a disaster zone.

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