In the wake of the longest and fiercest tropical storm on record for the southern hemisphere, our partners in Malawi ask for your prayers as they attempt to recover. But Cyclone Freddy has wreaked havoc and devastation in huge proportions.

A devastating situation

‘Pray for us,’ Fr Vincent Mwakhwawa, Missio’s National Director in Malawi writes this week. ‘We have enough problems: COVID-19 found us with our poverty issues and cholera is still with us… and now cyclones.’

The note of despair is understandable as our partners struggle to reach and rebuild with those who have lost everything in the wake of Cyclone Freddy. The mounting death toll is well over 200, with searches continuing. And thousands of people have lost their homes, their livelihoods, their incomes and so much more. As you can see from this video, the floodwaters are destroying everything in their path.

The shocking aftermath

Fr Vincent shares:

‘… There’s been heavy rains for 4 or 5 days with the cyclone, and water is erupting from the ground and from the mountains, and sweeping away villages. The houses in the villages are mud houses, so they have been completely erased… Bodies are floating and people are wailing.

‘They were sleeping, they tried to run away, but the water swept them. Some have lost their lives, some are homeless: no homes, no food, no clothes. So much hunger.

‘It’s difficult to understand life and how we have to suffer amidst and on top other ways of suffering. But we know God’s love endures forever… and we still have the faith. Pray for us. Thank you.’

Archbishop Thomas and his team visit a flattened village to offer spiritual support and bring supplies

Prayers of hope and compassion

Fr Vincent is not giving up; he and his team stand alongside the many rescue teams and support workers, including the Archbishop of Blantyre, who is visiting and caring for the affected. Fr Vincent says:

‘Archbishop Thomas is really giving good pastoral care to the victims… and they need much support. He visited communities and donated some items.’

Pope Francis has expressed his concern and love for communities in Malawi. During his General Audience on Wednesday morning in the Vatican he said:

‘I am close to the people of Malawi, hit in recent days by a very strong cyclone. I pray for the dead, the injured, the displaced. May the Lord support the families and communities most tried by this calamity.’

We ask for your prayers at this time for our Missio family, and for all our sisters and brothers in Malawi who are living through such terrible destruction and loss. Please pray for them, and for all the rescuers and teams working to help them.