Cyclone Freddy

Cyclone Freddy

In March last year, Malawi experienced one of its worst disasters in history. According to the UN, over 625,000 families were displaced many being children and women, with a death toll of over 500 and over 500 people still missing. The Department of Disaster Affairs of Malawi (DoDMA) highlighted the need for “Mental Health and Psychosocial services to the affected areas, especially to the survivors, and frontline health workers, as there was no one providing these services.  As a leading organisation in the provision of mental health services in Malawi, we answered the call and this led to our first humanitarian project with support from KinderNotHilfe Luxembourg

Cyclone Freddy hit 14 districts in Malawi but Blantyre and Mulanje were two of the worst hit districts and these are the two districts we are implementing our project. In Blantyre, our work is in the area of T/A Kapeni. T/A Kapeni area according to DoDMA reports registered 212 deaths of which 22 were children, 75 people still missing and over 4163 people displaced because of the Cyclone. In Mulanje, our work is in T/A Njema, which was one of the worst hit areas by the cyclone and we still have settlement camps the cyclone survivors. According to DoDMA reports, T/A Njema registered 151 deaths, 217 injuries and 147 still missing and 2095 households were displaced. When you visit these areas, the impact of the cyclone is quite vivid still to this day

Impact of the cyclone in Blantyre (T/A Kapeni)

As you can see there was a lot of trauma and pain that, many people experienced from the loss of life, loss of property and a lot more negative things that the cyclone had brought. Our project aims to improve psychological and mental wellness and psychosocial through training lay counsellors. This is to ensure that we empower the survivors and create sustainable support systems for the survivors. We also offered specialized training such as psychosocial first aid, basic counselling skills and Interpersonal therapy for groups.

We are also conducting mental health awareness sessions and advocacy sessions so that the survivors can know when they or people close to them need support, where they can get support but also deal with the stigma and discrimination on mental health.

Our Project Coordinator having a chat with one of the survivors at Njema camp

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