The Finnish Red Cross helps victims of floods in Malawi

Punainen Risti
Punainen Risti

Malawi is suffering from the worst floods in over a decade. The Finnish Red Cross is sending 100,000 euros to the aid operation, with the help of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

2,000 families will receive the following items from the Red Cross:
  • two tarpaulins
  • a kitchen supply package
  • a toiletries package
  • water canister of two litres
  • two mosquito nets
  • two sleeping pads
  • two blankets

The storms and heavy rains at the start of January have caused the worst floods in Malawi in decades. Approximately 200 people have died and almost 200,000 people are homeless. The rivers of Malawi flood almost every year, but this year the floods are particularly severe. The rains still continue.

Hannele Kankuri, a Finnish aid worker, works in Malawi. She participates in distributing the aid supplies. Taking the aid to its destination is challenging, since the roads and bridges are cut off.

– We’re about to start a large distribution of aid supplies in a place where the supplies are delivered in a helicopter. The areas where the Red Cross brings aid have about 18,000 inhabitants, Kankuri says.

The Red Cross helps people settle in the temporary camps and distributes food and fresh water. There is a particular shortage of tents and tarpaulins that can be used to build temporary shelter for the families currently sleeping in out the open. Quickly arranging for fresh water and toilets is very important to prevent the spread of skin disease, diarrhoea, and cholera, for example.

The camps are very cramped and hygiene is bad. Many of those living in the camps wash themselves in a river where crocodiles live. A few people have died of the injuries caused by the crocodiles.

This year, the floods have started earlier than usual and they are predicted to continue for several weeks. The number of refugees within the country is expected to increase further. Aid will be needed for a long time.

The Finnish Red Cross is supporting the aid operation in Malawi with 100,000 euros.

Malawi is a country in Southern Africa with 17 million inhabitants and it is one of the poorest countries in the world.  Health care is inadequate and only a little over 40 percent of the population has access to fresh drinking water. The Finnish Red Cross supports the health work and the improvement of disaster preparedness of the Malawian Red Cross. Currently, there are two Finnish aid workers in Malawi.