Relief to the Warm Heart of Africa
Heavy rains and flooding in the southern parts of Malawi during mid-January of 2015 caused a third of the country to be declared a disaster zone by Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika. The UN children’s agency, Unicef, said that the number of people displaced stood at 230,000, compared with an original estimate of 174,000. Disaster management agencies estimated it would cost 23.9bn Malawi Kwacha (U$51m) to repair the damage in infrastructure alone.
In response the humanitarian aspect of the crisis, Namanolo Islamic Educational Trust in conjunction with the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa dispatched a consignment of 120 metric tons comprising of 5 containers loaded with maize meal, cooking oil, sugar and other food stuff to Malawi.
A delegation on behalf Jamiatul Ulama South Africa and Namanolo Islamic Educational Trust in partnership with Asian Muslim Relief Aid (AMRA) distributed more than 10,000 relief aid packs over a period of five days to victims of the devastating Malawi floods.
Most Malawian people based in villages grow their own crops to meet their food requirements. It’s these areas which were the worst hit by the floods, posing a critical problem.
A resident of Blantyre, Andrew Solomon informed the delegation while at a fueling station that people have no food and are starving. “There is a lot of starvation because of the outcome of the floods in Malawi.” Solomon said everything flood victims had or owned have been washed away by the floods. “At the moment people don’t have food, their livestock’s and houses has been washed away and people have drowned… it needs many more hands to come across and help these people,” said Solomon.
Halima Nudi (40) a resident of Namanolo Village said people in Malawi are suffering. “The rain came heavily for a month, daily and there were floods everywhere. The houses were falling and most of the people ran away from their homes to hide in the classrooms and mosques to seek shelter from the rain and flood waters.” Nudi said the floods and heavy rains destroyed many homes, schools and even the Darul Uloom where many residents also sought shelter. She said some people even resorted to sleeping under trees.
Jamiatul Ulama South Africa’s delegation team leader Moulana Siddique Bham said they had achieved the objectives of distributing the relief aid packs and assisting the Malawian people. “May Allah accept our sacrifices and efforts of all role players involved Insha’ Allah.”
Other members of the team included Moulana Asad Pandor, Moulana Obeidullah Boja, Hafez Nazier Mia, Hafez Aadil Vaid, Faizel Patel and even the drivers Ali and Cassiem who transported the team to the various villages and distribution points in Malawi.
“It has been a very fulfilling experience and at the same time a very sad one as well seeing the plight of these people,” said Moulana Pandor, while Moulana Boja said the team has been humbled and privileged to be able to serve the people of Malawi.
While the team has returned home, the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa urges South Africans to continue donating generously, as providing relief to the Malawian people during this very difficult time is an ongoing effort.
Meanwhile, Malawi’s diplomatic mission in Pretoria has sounded out a fresh appeal to the public, donor agencies and individuals to help the nation. After the floods of 2015, an extended drought and poor rains during the 2016 maize growing season have left many parts of country facing severe food shortages.
Scanty stocks and rising costs for the grain means that the lean period had already started for many in what was supposed to be the period of plenty and harvesting.
Our intervention in Malawi was possible, thanks to the generous contributions from the South African community. We are are hopeful that the public will once again respond to our appeal to help Malawians in need.
Despite their plight and circumstance, the Malawian people are always smiling, waving and greeting which is why the country lives up to its name of ‘The Warm Heart of Africa.’