I have lost everything due to Cyclone Freddy, says Gogo Aggie


Life has taken a difficult terrain for Gogo Agnes Magombo who is living at Thundu Primary School in Balaka as she has lost everything due to floods induced by Cyclone Freddy.

”Gogo” Aggie, as she is fondly known among the locals in her village, Phimbi, Sub-Traditional Authority Phimbi, almost 70 kilometres from Balaka district headquarters, explains that cyclone Freddy induced flooding has left her miserable.

The cyclone which has killed hundreds and displaced thousands in southern Malawi has brought about negative repercussions in her village and also other surrounding villages.

A visit to Thundu Primary School, which has been turned into a temporary evacuation camp for 122 people, whose houses collapsed due to the storm, people have nothing to rely on.

It was exactly mid-day when we got to the camp but looking around, there were no signs of people preparing lunch.

Agnes says life in the camp is challenging and she does not know what the future holds for her.

”I lost everything that I was relying on.The little maize flour I had, my crop field including my house were all washed away by the speeding waters,” said Agnes who had already lost her husband and children before the cyclone.

As it stands, Agnes, just like other dozens of people in the village are hopeless as the ravaging water has completely wiped out their belongings.

The cyclone has also damaged roads, cutting off access to the camps and hampering relief items distribution exercise to the survivors in the process.

Going around in most evacuation camps set up by Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), the message is almost similar, people are in dire need of urgent help.

At a neighbouring evacuation camp, just a few kilometres away, Shire Living Waters Church is home to scores of cyclone survivors. As Nevour

Isaac, chairperson of the camp narrates; lack of food, beddings and clean water among others remain a serious challenge at the camp especially to children, women and the elderly.

”The supply of aid has been slow due to the bad road network. Aid agencies are failing to reach us at our camp and we are sometimes asked to travel some distance away from the camp in order to access relief items,” Isaac narrated.

Meanwhile, the terrible experiences brought about by the cyclone has compelled two Balaka based civil society organizations, Better Standard Living and Child Focus to jointly support the affected people with assorted relief items.The items included; washing soap,salt and soya pieces.

The two organizations donated the items to nearly 500 people drawn across three villages of Nkaya,Phimbi and Msambadzi in the district.

The organizations have so far reached out to survivors of the storm camping at Nkaya Seventh day Adventist Church, Thundu Primary School and Shire North Living Waters Church.

Thomas Sendeza is the Executive Director of Child Focus. Sendeza says the assistance will help in lessening the burden created by the devastating storm.

Preliminary report indicates that over 10,000 people have been affected in the district and are in need of support.

However, the department of disaster in the district fears that the number may rise as assessment of the damage caused by the cyclone is still in progress.

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