Cyclone Freddy is one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the southern hemisphere and the longest-lived tropical cyclone ever recorded. It originated over the Indian Ocean on February 6 and made landfall in Malawi on March 12, 2023. From March 10-14, 2023, Southern Malawi was severely hit by heavy, persistent rains and strong winds.
The cyclone largely affected districts in the Southern Region—the scale of the disaster is unprecedented. Tens of thousands in Malawi have been left homeless and over 345,000 people were affected by the heavy rains, floods and landslides. Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs reports the cyclone killed at least 676 people and another 538 are missing.
After the initial impact on March 12, PWS&D’s partner, Churches Action in Relief and Development (CARD) began working on an immediate response. PWS&D provided an initial contribution to CARD to assist with search and rescue efforts, needs assessments and immediate food for evacuated households.
As of April 12, a total of 325 households living in temporary shelters for those displaced by the flooding received an initial food distribution of a 10 kg bag of maize flour and eight packets of soya pieces to enable them to meet their immediate food requirements. PWS&D is continuing to work with our partners on the next phase of our response to the disaster.
Additionally, because of crisis food insecurity as a result of climate-related shocks, including Cyclone Ana which hit southern Malawi in January 2022, PWS&D is implementing a three-month food assistance project for 2,500 households. This project, which started in February 2023, is providing food assistance in the form of cash transfers, as well as seeds to produce high-value crops.
However, Cyclone Freddy also hit many of the communities receiving assistance and some of the seeds provided through the project were washed away. CARD plans to replace the seeds to ensure that project participants will be able to meet their food needs.
Please continue to pray with us for those affected. Click below to support this ongoing response.