Malawi: Extremely heavy rains in lower Shire River districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje, compounded by further rains from last week’s Cyclone Idai, have caused severe flooding. Rivers have broken their banks, affecting some 16,000 households in Nsanje, according to the national disaster report. Huge numbers of houses collapsed, and thousands of people remain in displacement camps and makeshift shelter sites at schools and churches. Official figures confirm 56 deaths, 577 injured, and three missing.
MSF is responding in collaboration with Malawian authorities and the Disaster Management Department, in addition to local and international organizations. An 18-person MSF team is supporting the Ministry of Health to provide health and sanitation services and non-food items to an estimated 18,000 people in Makhanga, on the eastern bank of the Shire River. So far we have not identified any acute medical needs, but we are concerned about the many people in need of medications for treatment of chronic conditions, including HIV and tuberculosis. In Makhanga health center, where Ministry of Health staff have not yet returned, MSF offers primary health care, HIV services, and basic disease surveillance, providing approximately 150 consultations daily.
Outreach teams have also visited communities in the region to repair boreholes and test water quality to ensure access to safe drinking water. We're also building basic latrines and shower shelters, distributing non-food items and hygiene kits, and educating communities on hygiene and safe water practices. These teams have now reached more than 2,000 households in Makhanga.
Due to concerns about the potential for the spread of cholera, MSF is building a four-bed cholera treatment unit in order to be prepared in the event of an outbreak. Read more from Malawi.