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Cyclone Freddy leaves devastation in Malawi

By Opportunity International

On Sunday 12th March, Southern Malawi was hit by tropical storm Freddy with several districts experiencing severe floods and landslides. Cyclone Freddy is one of the strongest stroms recorded in the southern hemisphere and potentially the longest-lasting tropical cyclone. 

As of April, it was estimated that over 560,000 people had been displaced, sheltering in over 500 camps, and 511 people have died. Homes, crops and livestock were swept away.  Harvests were destroyed and livelihoods devastated. Many people lost everything.

Cyclone Freddy illustrates more than ever the increasing vulnerability of poor communities across sub-Saharan Africa to the impacts of extreme weather conditions.  It highlights the need to build financial and climate resilience amongst communities. Our work in Malawi, providing savings, agricultural and financial training is doing just that. 

“Approximately 1,360 of our clients were severely impacted by the floods – losing their crops, livestock and homes.  Thankfully some of them had savings account. We have worked quickly to encourage them and others to open savings accounts with the bank so that their savings are secure, and thanks to support from Jersey Oversees Aid and Opportunity International UK we are working with them to issue  them with emergency loans to get them rebuilding their businesses , cover basic needs and children's school fees.”

(Richard Chongo, Country Director of Opportunity International Malawi )

Malawi is becoming increasingly susceptible to extreme weather. Our programmes are responding to this and providing:

  • Training in good agricultural practices and climate resilient farming techniques, to encourage farmers to adopt agricultural practices and inputs that are more resistant to the effects of climate change.

  • Training in financial management, budgeting and business development which enables people to run profitable businesses; save for the future and make wise financial decisions.

  • Access to secure savings account to build financial assets and support greater resilience against shocks.

  • Access to better loans that enable and encourage more climate resilient practices and development of diverse income-generation. With access to loans families and communities affected by climatic shocks can also start to rebuild their livelihoods and their homes. 

  • Access to digital platforms that enable communities to prepare for, respond to and adapt to climate change. For example, providing clients with detailed weather forecasting via their phones that can be used to inform farming strategies and timing.

Access to savings and training is crucial in building the resilience and secruity of our clients Find out more here and if you would like to support our work - please donate here.



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