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ActionAid strengthens resilience as Cyclone Freddy death toll rises in the Country

By Brighton Tchongwe

ActionAid Malawi is scaling up its interventions and working with local partners in the affected districts to urgently assess the situation, provide vital assistance to the worst affected survivors and support rescue efforts.

The Country Director of ActionAid Malawi, Pamela Kuwali has appealed to all non government organizations to take lead in supporting the survivors of Cyclone Freddy by providing them with food staffs, shelter and other related items.

“The country is reeling from the impact of Cyclone Freddy, this is a community which was already under huge pressure before the cyclone hit, with a fifth of people in the country facing food insecurity, over 70 per cent of people living below the poverty line and the deadliest outbreak of cholera experienced by Malawi underway,” said Kuwali.

“Our priority now is to support partners working in the districts affected to undergo a rapid needs assessment to understand the scale of the damage. We are also involved with rescue efforts to find people who are missing,” she added.

In her remarks Global Lead for Climate Justice at ActionAid International, Teresa Anderson has called on government to make loss and damage funding a reality for groups with increased vulnerabilities.

“The reality is that climate change is bringing ever more intense cyclones, floods, and storms. In Africa, the cyclone season has the potential to be deadly,” said Anderson.

“Women, children and girls, are hit hardest by climate disasters. During the COP27 climate summit last year, wealthy states in the Global North pledged to set up a loss and damage fund so that countries can rebuild at the aftermath of severe weather events, such as Cyclone Freddy,” she explained.

“Governments must act now to make this fund a reality and deliver for those on the frontline of climate chaos who can’t wait any longer,” she added.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy has made landfall for a second time this week in East Africa, raging through Malawi and causing gusty winds, heavy rainfall, mudslides and increased flooding.

The death toll in Malawi stands at 326 but this is expected to increase.

Cyclone Freddy has affected over 183,000 people in Malawi, including displacing thousands of people from their homes., 707 are injured and many more are missing.

The devasting impact of the cyclone has left many people in dire need of humanitarian aid.

One of the Survivor from Kampira Village, Maria Banda (not real name) said the storm has displaced everything.

“I have lost all my property. We are in urgent need of food, shelter, and clothing,” said Banda

Another Survivor from Nyang’a Village, Esther Phiri (not real name) says the Cyclone Freddy has washed away everything.

“My property and belongings have been washed away. As a result, I am currently displaced,” said Phiri.

Commenting on the same issue, The Civil Society Network on Climate change (CISONECC), National Coordinator Julius Ng’oma has pointed on the need for the country to have the Disaster Risk Management Bill which will help the country to reduce loss and damage as result of the impact of climate change across the country.

“The outcome of COP27 on loss and damage is to establish new funding arrangements for assisting developing countries that particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change in responding to loss and damage,” said Ng’oma.

The President of the Republic of Malawi Dr Lazarus Chakwera has ordered that the country should observe fourteen days of mourning for cyclone freddy victims

The World Meteorological Organization continues to assess whether Cyclone Freddy is the longest-running tropical cyclone in history.

According to reports by World Health Organization (WHO) extreme weather conditions and climate events directly affected over half a million people in 2021 and increases the vulnerability of women and girls.

ActionAid International is a global federation working with more than 15 million people living in more than 40 countries of the world poorest countries in order to achieve social justice and gender equality as well as eradicate poverty across the world.

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