An estimated one thousand MicroLoan clients and four thousand children in their care are affected by cyclone Idai. They need your help.
The Government in Malawi declared a state of disaster last month following the cyclone and heavy rains that ravaged southern parts of Africa.
Livelihoods and homes have been destroyed and many people are still missing. According to recent reports from UNICEF 60 people have died in Malawi and over 85,000 people have been displaced. Nsanje and Chikwawa, located in the southern region of Malawi are two of the worst hit areas. MicroLoan supports around 3,000 women in these districts.
Working to support the affected
Our team is working with the local communities to locate affected clients and identify the most effective way to help the hardest hit families. So far there have been no reports of fatalities amongst our clients, but our team is still searching for the missing. The biggest challenge for our team on the ground is reaching and getting to clients in need. The women we support have saw their homes battered leaving them unsafe to stay in, many of our clients have sought refuge in camps set up for displaced families. The floods have also ripped apart roads and infrastructure leaving transport and contact in the country difficult. Phone networks are still down which means our teams are struggling to contact clients and each other. MicroLoan operates in some of the most rural and remote locations, coupled with the damages to infrastructure, this is making search efforts even more gruelling. In their attempts to reach and assist our clients five of our Loan & Training Officers have suffered minor injuries. Fortunately none of them needed to be hospitalised.
We will keep you updated on the efforts as and when we receive new information.
A pending famine
Women have seen the businesses and livelihoods they worked so hard to build crumble after the onslaught of rain and wind. Hundreds of homes have been severely damaged and at least 20 families have seen them homes destroyed beyond repair.
Tamala joined MicroLoan last year so she could transform the futures of her three young children. She started a business selling fruit and vegetables. Just as her business was starting to develop and expand she has had to watch everything wash away. The floods have ruined her crops, left her business without stock and her home has been pulled down.
Not only has she been left without goods for her grocery business, but she has no food to feed her family. The maize she grew has been destroyed.
“The floods have destroyed my maize crop and the bags that I had stored have been ruined. Buying maize is very expensive and my savings will soon run out.”
– Tamala, MicroLoan Malawi client
Many families just like Tamala’s will be facing the same adversity. MicroLoan clients are part of the poorest segment of the population and many depend on subsistence farming. But with crops, relied upon for survival, now under water the risk of famine and starvation following a disaster like this is extremely high. This is why MicroLoan’s savings training is vital. We encourage all of our clients to make regular savings so that when terrifying disasters like this hit they have some form of safety net. As a newer client to MicroLoan, Tamala’s savings are still quite small. Despite this, they will provide her with the means to buy small bits of food for her children. Whilst savings provide our clients with essential security in the immediate aftermath, they can’t last forever.
This is why we need to help Tamala and many other women like her now. We need to help them to rebuild their livelihoods before the famine hits the community in full force.
Flooded market at Nchalo, Chikwawa District.
What we are doing
MicroLoan will give the worst affected clients small emergency grants to rebuild safe and secure homes for their children. We will also provide over 1,000 women with additional training, mentoring and business loans to restart their businesses. This is what is needed to give families the opportunity to piece their lives together.
To support one thousand families in the face of this terrifying disaster we need to raise £70,000.
In difficult times like these, traditional finance providers often take a step back. MicroLoan is stepping up. No family should be left without food, a safe place to call home, or a means to build a future.
These families need your help, we need your help.