The weather has been a challenge for people with power cuts, public transport suspended and schools closed but in Malawi in Central Africa bad weather has left many people homeless, hungry and facing a very high risk of malaria and other diseases that wipe half the children before they reach the age of five.
This group of people have lost their tiny little homes, their belongings, everything, as torrential rain ravaged through their village. Even the school they find refuge in at night had been flooded but is now operational again.
Kilrea woman, Anne Dallat, who has travelled to Malawi for many years and knows this remote parish well, received the pictures in a text from Parish Priest Father Henry Chiwaya who told her the rains didn’t come when they were needed for the crops to grow but arrived now with a vengeance wiping out everything and leaving very poor people homeless and facing certain hunger in the months ahead because the crops failed.
She said: “The last few days have been challenging for many people here and there has been a lot of media coverage but in one of the poorest countries in Africa the situation is in crisis.
“The rains should have come several months ago to ensure the food crops would grow and they didn’t and the seeds died. Now the same people have been washed out losing their humble little homes and are totally dependent on the school for shelter during the bitterly cold nights.
“During the days they sit outside the school where Father Henry delivers any scrap of food he can manage to find to feed them but even that is becoming more difficult to find.
“During the summer when I was there and on the advice of Father Henry I managed to buy maize in large sacks for distribution to the poor during what is called the ‘hungry season’ but it has come much earlier and now there are no reserves for later.
“These are among the most wonderful people and kindest people anywhere in the world and while we complain about our own challenges when the weather turns bad we can’t begin to understand what is happening in other parts of the world as a direct result of climate change and a failure by the developed world to address poverty on such a scale.”