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SCIAF welcomes much-needed Malawi relief funding

24 April 2023

Storm Freddy Malawi

SCIAF has welcomed £200,000 of funding from the Scottish Government, for emergency relief in Malawi following the devastating cyclone which tore through the country last month.

More than 500 people were killed and over 500,000 displaced as a result of Tropical Cyclone Freddy, which struck just as Malawi was dealing with its deadliest ever cholera outbreak. Around five million people in the country were affected by Freddy which struck the areas around and to the south of the commercial city Blantyre. 

Freddy was one of the strongest storms ever recorded in the southern hemisphere and could be the longest-lasting tropical cyclone, according to the World Meteorological Organization. 

SCIAF has been working with local partners to help Malawians living in poverty since 1985. This Scottish Government funding will be used to provide food, shelter and improved access to water, sanitation and healthcare for those affected by the cyclone.

Chief Executive of SCIAF Alistair Dutton said:

“Once again the Scottish Government has stepped up and responded at a time of need for the people of Malawi. 

“On a visit in January, we could see the difference made by previous funding from the Scottish Government in response to Storm Ana and Cyclone Gombe which struck in 2022. Working through our partners, the funds were used to help communities prepare and protect themselves against further weather events. This included flood defences such as dykes and channels. Just weeks later Cyclone Freddy struck, testing these defences to the limit.

“This latest cyclone brought devastation to much of southern Malawi in March and we are very grateful for this further funding which will be used to relieve some of the suffering the cyclone caused. Access to water, sanitation and health services as well as food and shelter are our priorities as we work with our partners in the wake of this catastrophe."

International Development Minister Christina McKelvie said:

“The loss of life and the substantial damage to thousands of people’s homes and livelihoods in Malawi is devastating, particularly at a time when the country is facing a severe cholera outbreak. 

“Scotland has a longstanding relationship with Malawi and our ability to fund this humanitarian response is a good example of the role and importance of the Scottish Government’s strong international relationships.”

The funding for SCIAF is part of a £400,000 support package for Malawi, awarded through the Humanitarian Emergency Panel from the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund.

The funding was announced on 23 March by the then First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, in a letter to President Chakwera conveying expressions of condolences for the tragic loss of life.

Chimwemwe Sakunda Ndhlovu, a national coordinator for Caritas Malawi, explained what this funding means to them.

She said:

“We are rehabilitating some of the boreholes that were damaged, and also providing water treatments for some of the water points that were also contaminated. But we are also working towards supporting women and girls with hygiene packs as well as protection, as most of them are still in the camps. So we are very grateful to the HEF Fund and the Scottish Government for this support to Caritas Malawi and the Malawian nation as a whole. Thank you.”