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Lynn’s Letters from 2019

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Impact of Cyclone Idai

21 March 2019

We have all heard on the news about the devastation cyclone Idai has had in Africa. As SOWTech has projects in two of the worst effected countries we contacted them to see how they were coping.

Angus, the General Manager at Namisu in Malawi, reported “The last ten days or so have been quite challenging. We are all fine on the high ground, just got extremely wet, trees falling down etc, but the country has taken another big blow with the heavy rains and subsequent flooding in the lower lying areas such as Phalombe, Chikwawa and Nsanje. This in fact occurred the week before cyclone Idai. There was a very strong low pressure system which was the forerunner to the cyclone that brought 15 inches of rain in Blantyre over 4 days, similar to the previous flood some four or five years ago. So even where the flooding didn’t occur, many hundreds if not thousands of houses country wide in the rural areas have collapsed as a result of the perpetual rainfall.

We have had many pit latrines at several of our centres collapse because of the saturated ground and one roof blown off. We’re distributing plastic sheeting to families associated with our daycare centres to help make their houses and roofs a bit more watertight. Also temporarily accommodating some of the daycare children into our residential system. Relief camps have been set up in various places to help the displaced. We’re not sure yet the full extent of the crop damage.”

The report from Ian of Africa Trust about the situation in Zimbabwe was a little better. They had not been so badly affected in the Mwoyoweshumba area. Roads were washed away and roofs blown off but no one had been injured. The Interseasonal rainwater harvesting system sustained some damage but that was soon repaired and Ian sent us this photo of the full water tank. Sitting in our brick-built centrally-heated homes we can not imagine what it must be like to lose everything to such a force of nature. Our thoughts and prayers are with them all

Interseasonal Rainwater Harvesting system in Zimbabwe

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