Following the declaration of state of disaster by President Lazarus Chakwera and an appeal for relief assistance to survivors of the Cyclone Freddy that devastated the Southern Region, Malawi’s corporate companies have swiftly responded with financial support.
Just on Friday alone, three separate events took place that saw CDH Investment Bank (CDHIB), and its subsidiaries of Continental Holdings Limited brand, investing K60 million to the Red Cross Society of Malawi.
NICO Group has committed a total of K200 million channelled to World Vision to relieve 3,000 households — with additional support going towards efforts being championed by the Rotary Club of Blantyre and the Malawi Land Rover Defenders Club, which is using personal Land Rover vehicles to reach those in affected areas.
While Ecobank Malawi Plc released K100 million relief package through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA).
Speaking in Blantyre at the symbolic presentation of its donation at CDH Investment Bank, Group Financial Controller, Kingsley Zulu said “the past week has been heart-breaking and devastating for Malawi and most notably, Blantyre, Phalombe, Chiradzulu, Mulanje and other districts in the Southern Region”.
“Although the full extent of loss has not been resolved, what we know is not only devastating but also very heart-breaking. Cyclone Freddy has left a huge disaster in its wake — a lot of infrastructure, especially peoples houses, roads and bridges have been destroyed.
“Livelihoods shattered and so many people have lost their lives and a lot more have been rendered destitute. The extent of this devastation cannot be left to Government alone to deal with.
“It is commendable to see how many people have pulled together to assist those in need and we are proud that our staff have also mobilized support to aid those affected by the cyclone in personal capacities under various organizations, or religious groups.
“There is need for the nation to rally together and assist those that have been seriously affected by this disaster. As a responsible corporate citizen, with a passion for the socio-economic development of our country Malawi, the CDH Investment Bank and other subsidiaries of Continental Holdings Group has decided to assist the Government of Malawi’s relief efforts by making this donation through the Red Cross Society of Malawi.
“We applaud the Red Cross Society of Malawi, Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) and all other relief organizations for their valiant efforts in assisting those affected by Cyclone Freddy.
“Our hearts and thoughts go out to all the families who have been impacted by the effects of this cyclone and we pray for the souls of those that have lost their lives to rest in God’s eternal peace.
“During this difficult time, we encourage all stakeholders to be strong, support those in need and be optimistic for better days to come.”
Receiving the donation, McBain Kanongodza, Secretary General (CEO) of the Red Cross Society of Malawi, hailed CDH Investment Bank and its sister companies for their gesture in supporting victims of the harsh effects of Cyclone Freddy — saying the support will go a long way in alleviating the survivors that are in evacuation camps.
As of Friday, March 17, DODMA reported that cumulatively, the Tropical Cyclone Freddy-induced flooding, strong winds and mudslides have displaced 79,602 households (approximately 345,183 people) with 505 camps set to accommodate the displaced.
The death toll has risen from 326 to 438 — with 918 injured and 282 reported missing and on its part, NICO Group of companies — which includes NBS Bank and Eris Properties — said they believe the K200 million support is within their values of being a responsible and responsive corporate citizen.
In a press statement, NICO Group Managing Director, Vizenge Kumwenda said they have come forward with the support to help mitigate the impact of the cyclone.
“Fellow Malawians have been greatly been affected by the cyclone,” he said. “The devastation and loss of life is unimaginable. NICO Group has a strong history of providing relief and support to communities when there are national disasters or states of emergency in the country, and we felt duty bound to step in and assist through this contribution.”
He further commended the Government for efforts made to lead and consolidate relief efforts, saying: “The challenges are enormous, but we believe that together, we can surmount them.”
Kumwenda also applauded the private sector and all Malawians who have shown their support during this time, stating that an effective response requires all stakeholders to play a part in any way they can.
He took note that the affected areas will continue to experience the effects of the cyclone for some time and stated that NICO Group will continue to monitor the situation and assist where possible.
“As a leading financial services group in Malawi, NICO has continuously supported initiatives that uplift Malawians in the areas of education, health and environmental conservation.
Recent status update from DoDMA indicates that 11 districts out of the 13 in the Southern Region have been affected by severe flooding, mudslides, power and water supply disruptions, and destruction of roads and bridges.
Presenting their K100 million support at Ecobank Malawi office’s in Blantyre, Executive Director, Weluzani Chingota said: “As a responsible corporate citizen, and in line with our Pan-African mission of supporting the communities we live in, we felt duty bound to play our role in supporting affected households.
“We believe that the relief care packs worth K100 million will go a long way in complementing Government efforts during this crisis. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families that have been displaced, injured and those that have lost their loved ones during this crisis.”
On his part, DoDMA director of preparedness & response, Rev. Moses Chimphepo thanked Ecobank for allocating funds towards this noble cause, while assuring the donors and the general public that the relief package will be used for its intended purpose — thus giving first line relief items to households that have been displaced during this crisis.
Meanwhile, DoDMA has announced that it has received fresh preliminary reports from councils on damages caused by Cyclone Freddy — with rapid assessment reports from 14 affected councils of Balaka, Blantyre City, Blantyre District, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Machinga, Mangochi, Mulanje, Neno, Nsanje, Phalombe, Thyolo, Zomba City and Zomba District.
DoDMA thus assures the public that with support from humanitarian partners and Councils, they will continue to facilitate the provision of relief assistance to affected and displaced households, with search and rescue operations underway — led by the Malawi Defence Force (MDF), the Malawi Police Service (MPS), the Department of Marine, the Malawi Red Cross Society and communities.
The MPS has deployed sniffer dogs for search and rescue; and so far, they have recovered nine bodies in Chilobwe, Blantyre District,” says the public notice.
The national interagency assessment team is on the ground to support affected councils with assessments to establish the total number of affected people and their immediate needs.
“The Department will be regularly updating the general public on provision of assistance, usage and any related development.”
DoDMA thus continues to highlight various relief items that survivors require in clusters (sector working groups), that include:
Shelter (tarpaulin (4 x 6 m), family tents/big tents, plastic sheet, blankets, sleeping mats;
Protection (clothes, lighting lamps, dignity kits);
Health (mosquito nets, mobile clinic services);
Non-food Items (plates, cups, pots);
WASH (mobile toilets; water treatment chemicals; soap, buckets)
Food security (maize/maize flour, corn soya blend, cooking oil, pulses (beans, peas etc), soya pieces, dry fish/kapenta, sugar, salt).
For any emergency or assistance, the public is encouraged to call DoDMA toll free number 115 using either Airtel or TNM lines and for more information, to contact:
Public Relations Officer, Chipiliro Raymond Khamula, on +265 (0) 999 043 228, (0) 884 572 844 and e-mail; [email protected]mw.