Malawi in the Wake of Cyclone Idai

As a result of Cyclone Idai, many homes were destroyed and many of the communities in Mozambique and Zimbabwe are facing a total loss of their harvest. This will have a devastating impact in the year to come, as many will face a twelve-month-long hunger season.

In Malawi, many homes were destroyed but uniquely, there exists a certain resilience amongst families. All of the families that Hands at Work are serving are currently under shelter, however some of the situations are fragile.

Mildred* and her grandchildren’s house was completely destroyed by Cyclone Idai. Thankfully, she lives on a homestead, typical of families in rural Malawi. While they rebuild, they are able to stay in the home of another family member who lives on their homestead. In communities like Mildred’s, many homes are made with mud bricks which were eroded by the unyielding rains caused by the cyclone. And then, during the night, one of the walls of Mildred’s home fell down. The family scrambled to save what they could before the rest of the home completely collapsed. Today, only the foundation remains.

In Malawi, homesteads are a grouping of small houses on a single property. Extended family live on this property with a communal kitchen shared by everyone. Because the family lives together, the homestead offers some level of resilience. As there are multiple dwellings on one property, families have a place to stay while they come together to rebuild their own homes.

The period between now and October is ideal for building; the rains have ceased and it is currently dry. Families, Care Workers, the local Hands at Work team in Dedza, alongside the Regional Support Team are working to rebuild the houses on homesteads where the worst of the living situations exist. They continue to build resilience, strengthening homesteads and family units.