30-Hour Famine

Climate change: The thief who robs everything

What started as a normal night, turned into a nightmare for Jenipher and her family of Balaka District in Malawi.

Just like any other Sunday evening, the family and their neighbours went to bed after having their supper. They had hoped to catch a good night’s rest for a full day of farming the next day, as it was growing season.

In the wee hours of Monday, it started raining heavily. Most passed it off as a normal rain because the area rarely experienced floods. The rain, coupled with strong winds, persisted throughout the day up until evening. Then it stopped.

Jenipher recalls: “When we went to bed on Monday, all was well. There was no rain but on Tuesday morning, the nearby river had swollen and our area started to flood. Water started coming into our home. We tried removing the water with some basins and cups but to no avail, as there was just too much. Then part of my house became weak and fell right before me. That is when I hurriedly took my children and fled for safety.
Jenipher and her four children are staying at a nearby church while her husband stayed back to guard what is left of their house. Her three other children are away at boarding school.

“We face a lot of challenges living here as there are no proper sanitation facilities. There are around 50 people seeking refuge here and we have to share one bathroom and two shower rooms. We also came without any food as the floods washed away most of our belongings.

“I have lost almost everything – my house, clothes, food, kitchenware, bedding, livestock, everything!” says an emotional Jenipher. “Before the floods, there was a prolonged drought which made farming very challenging due to the lack of water. The harvest was only a handful and now, the floods have taken away whatever little that we had.”
In late January 2022, Tropical Cyclone Ana caused flooding in Southern Malawi, damaging houses and properties, leaving a trail of destruction.

Malawi’s climate is dry and hot for most of the year, with four months of rain between December and March. The communities need the rain for their crops to grow, but not too much. As the land is so dry, when it does rain, the crops can be easily washed away or destroyed. Over the last few years, the weather in Malawi has changed. It has become extreme with cyclones, flash flooding and drought.

When you support the 30-Hour Famine, you provide these climate-vulnerable communities with the support they need to adapt to the changing climate and survive. 

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