Cyclone Stories: How you helped Sifati and her seven children survive following one of the fiercest storms to ever hit the Southern Hemisphere

July 24, 2019

Malawi is a small and locked country in southeast Africa and is one of the least developed countries in the world. The nation is made up of 18 million people, most of whom are rural subsistence farmers. The weather controls their lives and unpredictable weather patterns are a matter of life and death for many families in this region.

In March of 2019 Cyclone Idai struck Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique, and was considered one of the worst tropical cyclones to ever hit Africa. More than 1,200 people died, and another three million were impacted. A major storm like this in a poor country like Malawi is often just the beginning in a series of tragedies. A major humanitarian crisis followed and hundreds of thousands of people were in need of emergency assistance. Their homes and their livelihoods – their farms – were completely destroyed. So many were left with absolutely nothing.

Sifati is 49 years old and a mother of seven children. Before the storm, she and her husband earned a meager living by growing rice and maize on a half-acre of land in Malawi. Even when the weather was good and they had a bountiful harvest, times were hard for the family. A half-acre harvest was never enough.

Cyclone Idai completely demolished their home and all of their belongings, including the little food they had managed to store up. The floodwaters from the storm also destroyed their farm.

“Following the disaster, my husband and I struggled to get food to feed our family. We had no money left.”

Thanks to your generosity following this unprecedented disaster, Sifati and her family were able to survive. You provided them, and 1,600 other families in the region, each with a supply of nearly 100 pounds of food including corn, soy beans, salt,flour, and cooking oil.  

In a time of ultimate despair, your gift kept a struggling family alive.

Now four months after the storm, Sifati and her husband are struggling to recover. They have taken refuge at a neighbor’s house; they have saved money from doing odd jobs; and they have rented a piece of land unaffected by the flooding.

If they have a good harvest next year, they hope they can earn enough money to build a new house and hopefully grow corps on their own land again,once the soil is no longer waterlogged.

Without your help, none of this would be possible for Sifati. You were there for this family when they needed you most. Thank You!

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