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Holt charity fixes Malawi cyclone damage

A couple from North Norfolk charity Aid Africa spent some time in Malawi recently repairing damage caused by January’s devastating cyclone. Tony Rothe reports.

Dave and Lynda Mills arrived unannounced in March after two years of travel restrictions enforced by Covid. Tropical Cyclone Ana had ripped through Malawi in late January, bringing strong winds and heavy rains. Malawi declared a national disaster as more than 30 people died, 800,000 were affected, with infrastructure and power supplies significantly damaged. 

Msikita Village was one of the worst affected, with many homes and outbuildings destroyed, and crops flattened in the fields. The problems were compounded in mid-March when Cyclone Gombe tore the roof off the Community Centre which Aid Africa had built in 2016.
Lynda says “We immediately distributed plastic sheeting and water containers, providing the most effective help immediately, but then there was a great need for community reconstruction—so, on arrival, we set to work. As soon as our building team could get access despite the flooding, the carpenters prepared the roof trusses, the builders filled in the eaves, the roofers re-laid the iron sheets, and the painters spruced the whole thing up.
“So the building was renovated, raising the floor and corresponding roof level to mitigate the effects of future storms. Once again it’s the highly popular, fully functioning heart of the village, continuing to host a variety of health, education and civic events locally and safely.”
Another area of deep local concern following the cyclones was the destruction of household toilets and the fear of disease as a result of poor sanitation. There were many collapsed units in this region, but as most were in low-lying areas, considered vulnerable to future flooding, it was decided that a more sturdy, public facility would serve the area better.
Lynda says “The work began in March. An extra-deep pit (4m) was dug by hand and brick-lined despite the high water level following Cyclone Ana, which meant the lower building work was carried out under water! Up to 40 households will use this facility, about 150 people, plus all the children in the nursery school. It’s recognised and appreciated as a valuable community asset that will continue to serve this village for many years to come.”
Dave and Lynda also oversaw the repair or rebuilding of several homes that had been damaged or even destroyed by the cyclone, as well as a new toilet block for the 910 pupils in the local school. 
For more information about Aid Africa’s work in Malawi, visit aid-africa.com .
The image above, showing the transformation to the community centre in just one month, is courtesy of Aid Africa.


TonyRothe150Do you have a news story or forthcoming event relating to Christians or a church in North Norfolk?  

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Tony Rothe, 28/06/2022

Tony Rothe
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