DUBLIN, Ireland, February 3, 2015— Ireland will today dispatch thousands of blankets, tents, mosquito nets, soap, jerry cans and other urgent supplies to assist families affected by the recent severe flooding in Malawi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, and Minister for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, have announced.
58 tonnes of Irish stocks will be distributed by Irish Aid partners, Concern Universal, GOAL, Trócaire, Concern Worldwide and the Evangelical Association of Malawi. The supplies will be directed to help displaced families in the worst affected districts in the Southern Region of Malawi.
The airlifts, worth over €500,000, will be sent from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai, where Irish Aid pre-positions supplies for use in global emergencies.
Announcing today’s airlift, Minister Flanagan said:
“Preliminary reports indicate that the floods have left at least 174,000 people displaced and more than 630,000 people affected overall, with their houses washed away, and their farms and livelihoods destroyed.
“Ireland’s humanitarian supplies will be distributed among affected families in Nsanje, Chikwawa, Phalombe and other Districts through Irish Aid’s partner organisations on the ground.
“Thousands of houses in these districts are submerged or completely destroyed, forcing people to emergency sites and relief centres.
“This emergency airlift will complement our long term programme of assistance managed by our Embassy which supports some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in Malawi to cope with the effects of climatic and other shocks and works to improve food and nutrition security.”
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for Malawi’s rural population, and with over 35,000 hectares of cropland flooded, crops destroyed and livestock dead, food production has been severely impacted.
Highlighting the risks that the floods pose, Minister of State Sherlock said:
“There is a growing concern of the outbreak of diseases, given the poor sanitary and drainage conditions at emergency sites.
“Rains are expected to continue for the next two months and have already severely impacted smallholder farmers’ ability to grow food for their families and their communities, as well as destroying crops and livestock.
“We are monitoring the situation closely through our Ambassador in Lilongwe, Áine Hearns. I am concerned that the situation may worsen in some areas and that the number of affected people will rise.”
SOURCE: Ireland – Ministry of Foreign Affairs