Shelter from the Storm: Make It Happen



How Your Support Is Helping to Protect Lives in Malawi


In March 2023, Tropical Cyclone Freddy devastated several countries across Africa. In Malawi, the equivalent of six months of rainfall hit the region in just six days. The subsequent floods, land slides, and storms claimed over 1,200 lives and displaced over half a million people.


The country’s power grid was crippled, and the total damage caused to the country’s infrastructure and housing is estimated at over £500 million. Over a year on, many families in shattered communities are still trying to rebuild their homes and lives.



During Cyclone Freddy, over 1,000 lives were protected by our two flood shelters in Bester and Nkhwazi.

These shelters reached maximum capacity as the cyclone tore through the surrounding villages. Without them, the loss of life could have been far greater.

These centres would host training sessions for residents, training them in how to disaster-proof their homes. And crucially, these centres would provide a safe sanctuary for residents to shelter within in the event of any bad storms.

Little did we know that within a matter of months, these two centres would be put to the ultimate test when Cyclone Freddy struck.

Over 1,000 people sheltered from the storms at our two centres; people who would otherwise have had nowhere to go.




Several months on, nearly 30 families are still living at the centre.

There is an incredible sense of community here, with people sharing what little food they have and working together to collect water. But it’s evident that their lives have been very much on hold since March last year.



Most of those currently still residing at the centre are female-led households, single mums, elderly, or those without a family or network they can call upon for support.

They have no home to go back to and nowhere else to turn.





Ida (pictured right), is 85 years old and lost everything in the floods. Her house was completely destroyed, and all she now has left to rebuild with are a few items of clothing, a walking stick, and some pans. She tells me that without this community centre, she would be completely homeless.


Although this community centre was never built with the intention of providing long-term shelter, we are, of course, relieved that people like Ida at least have a roof over their heads and can use this space for the time being whilst we work out how we can best support them.

These buildings are more than bricks and mortar. They stand as a testament to the power supporters just like you have when they believe in positive change for those who need our help.


Your support is crucial to our mission of building a world where everyone has a safe place to call home.

United, we have the power to change lives.

Together, we can make it happen.


The post Shelter from the Storm: Make It Happen appeared first on Habitat for Humanity GB.


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