The aftermath of Cyclone Freddy in Malawi is a thing that will live in the history of one of the saddest moments in the Republic of Malawi. According to consolidated report by Department of Disaster Management (DODMA), over 679 deaths were registered, 511 people were reported as missing and 2,178 people were injured during the disasters.
Thyolo and Mulanje districts are among 6 priority districts categorized by Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) due to the severity of the impact of the disasters. In the aforementioned two districts, the cyclone displaced over 2,200 Tea Smallholder farmers including other community members in various camps. Tea Association of Malawi Limited (TAML) as an umbrella body of tea estates managed to secure over 25.3 million from its members and partners to respond to the disaster.
A cross section of smallholder farmers in Thyolo district
It is in this regard that TAML organized distribution of relief items exercises in Thyolo and Mulanje districts targeting victims of the cyclone in the camps. TAML distributed various food and non-food items including sugar, Likuni phala, detergent, cooking oil, soya pieces, buckets, maize flour, cups and plates, salt and reusable sanitary pads. The items reached out to over 375 and 350 households in Mulanje and Thyolo respectively. As its Corporate social responsibility, TAML reached out to both Smallholder farmers and concerned community members.
Speaking during distribution at Mangwalala camp in Thyolo, GVH Mangwalala applauded TAML for coming to their rescue. “We are thrilled to receive such items from TAML, our children had forgotten to eat in the morning due to lack food for breakfast and we mostly eat twice or once a day due to inadequacy of food on the camp” she said. The GVH explained that cyclone has greatly affected her communities including those from GVH Tambalala and Mangwalala 2 whose communities’ borders with Mozambique. She further said that crops, houses and other livelihood properties were damaged during the disasters leaving her subjects homeless and food insecure.
On the side of TAML, TAML Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Tonda Chinangwa, expressed his condolences to the households that lost their loved ones and properties due to the cyclone. He further sympathized with the affected households to say that TAML is deeply concerned with their situation and will not hesitate to support them whenever funds are available.
TAML CEO delivering his speech.
Speaking during interviews after the exercise, TAML Board Chairperson, Mr. Sangwani Hara, stressed TAML decided to raise funds after observing that the cyclone has devastated smallholder farmers and community members in the Mulanje and Thyolo districts. He acknowledged support from their partners and members including Solidaridad, Trust Africa, Ethical Tea partnership, East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA), Makandi and Satemwa Tea Estate.
TAML board chair during interviews
District Commissioner for Thyolo, Mrs. Rosemary Nawasha, who was Guest of Honor during distribution exercise, commended TAML for reaching out to the camps that are in hard-to-reach areas with the valuable items. She added that victims have lost practically everything, and the situation is dire however their road is almost impassable which makes it hard for other well-wishers to reach out to them.
DC for Thyolo presenting relief items to one of the beneficiaries at Mangwalala camp
In Thyolo, TAML managed to reach out to Nyodola and Mangwalala camps and Mtendere, Nsuwazi and Chizunga Smallholder Farmers Cooperatives while in Mulanje the Association reached out to Thuchila and Sukambizi camps.
EPM Managing Director giving relief items to beneficiaries at Thuchira
Lujeri Managing Director presenting relief items to beneficiaries at Sukambizi
Cross section of beneficiaries at Sukambizi
Trust Africa Regional Manager presenting relief items to one of the beneficiaries in Thyolo District.
TAML Board chairperson distributing relief items to beneficiaries at Msuwazi tea trust.