A Malawian bishop has appealed for global prayer and material support for the flood victims in his country where an estimated 33,000 people have been displaced by floods.

Bishop Brighton Malasa of the Diocese of Upper Shire said the floods that have hit Mozambique have not spared Malawi as the two countries “have similar weather patterns.”

“We have seen floods in the (Malawian) districts of Balaka, Machinga, Zomba west and Mangochi, where a majority of our parishes and institutions are,” he said. “Hunger is looming since people have lost their gardens, livestock and subsistence farming land.”

Malawi’s economy is predominantly agricultural with about 90 percent of its population living and cultivating the land in rural areas.

“We would appreciate humanitarian support such as soap, clothes, cereals, sugar, blankets and tents,” he said. “Babies also need milk [because] they are in danger of suffering from malnutrition.”

Meanwhile UNICEF Country Representative in Malawi Mahimbo Mdoe said, “Communities, government, NGOs and the U.N. are working together to avert a humanitarian disaster but the rains are persistent and we remain on high alert as the flooding spreads to other areas.”

Despite efforts being made by organizations such as UNICEF, Malasa said this “painful journey” cannot be walked alone and that the church also needs to take an upper hand.

“As a church, we are called to minister to people who are suffering in such difficult situations. We are called to bring full life to them using the already available resources,” he said.

The Diocese of Upper Shire has since set up a special relief committee headed by the Very Rev. John Chilombe, dean of the cathedral, and the Ven. John Mchakama, vicar general of the diocese, to make sure that the needs of the people are addressed as soon as possible.

The southern part of Malawi is prone to seasonal floods and droughts especially in the early months of the year. In January last year more than 5000 were displaced following heavy rains.

Malawi is a country where the knowledge and wisdom of the elderly in the community is appreciated. The bishop said, “The oldest people in our communities are saying they have not seen such rains (and floods) in the past 50 years.”

For more information and details about how to donate contact:

Canon John Chilombe, dean of the cathedral, at [email protected]

The Rt. Rev. Brighton Malasa, bishop of the Upper Shire, at [email protected]

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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