An update from those effected by the Southern Africa Drought
In September we launched an ERA appeal to raise money for those effected by the many months of drought that had hit Southern Africa. Our missionaries, Jackie Griffiths in Malawi and Clair Oates in Swaziland, share their experience since the drought and stories of those who are still effected.
Malawi, Jackie Griffiths
Things here are still quite desperate and we still get people regularly coming hungry and in search of food. Thankfully we are able to help people thanks to the donations received. The World Feeding Programme are now also actively involved in distributing food to the most needy areas too.
Margret came to us initially in search of milk for her baby as she did not have enough milk herself to feed him. She was quite sick and didn't have the strength to carry the baby on her back and had to be accompanied by her sister to carry the baby. Jackie visited her at her home to do a further assessment and she was very sick and eating only one very simple meal a day.
Since then we have been giving her regular food and the difference in her appearance was so marked that Jackie didn't recognise her a few weeks later when she brought the baby in to collect milk.
She now has the strength to ride her bike herself some considerable distance with her baby on her back to collect food.
We are now looking at obtaining land to grow crops and, praise God, one local Chief has donated land and we have access to solar irrigation systems to water the crops giving us the opportunity to distribute the harvested food by Christmas.
Swaziland, Clair Oates
I am currently sat outside social welfare offices and watching the rain. It's like British weather but welcome all the same. In terms of effects - Yesterday we visited an old couple - both crippled with arthritis. They pointed out how far they walk for water and it was so far away!! They are unable to walk that far let alone carry water. So they have a rickety gutter system that collects rain water or dew from a very rusty roof into a plastic water butt. There was about an inch in it when we looked. They have not boiled it so ended up with diarrhoea. The only food they have is dried maize kernals that take hours to cook. They have no one to help them. All of their 8 children have died so they only have each other. But yet they smile and thank God for his provision.
Another Grandma hadn't eaten or drunk water for a few days and was so confused and disorientated but after eating and drinking, recovered quickly.
We are finding, due to the lack of crops this year, that prices of foods have increased dramatically for Swazis who are already struggling. We are seeing more people with malnutrition and many health related issues. So we are distributing more food parcels knowing it will only last a few days.
Hope those reports help and as soon as we have more we will be sending out reports to all those churches and individuals that have given.