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Children with Disabilities, Orphaned, Escape Freddy by the Rooftop

Happiness sitting on a hill of mud outside one of the rooms at the Center Happiness sitting on a hill of mud outside one of the rooms at the Center - pic by Happy Njalam'mano

Women were busy cooking at Matope village at Ndirande in Blantyre on this particular raining Monday. Dark cloud had fallen one of the households in the village.

Josephine Mussa was among the women partaking in funeral activities such as the cooking as it is a tradition in the area.

Mussa tells Zodiak Online that everything was going on well with some rains that started falling on Sunday continuing.

“Burial was scheduled to take place at the home village of the deceased and we expected to leave for the village later in the afternoon,” she says.

Things turned nasty suddenly, Mussa says, when the rains increased.

Mussa is the director of Chikondi Disability and Orphanage Center.

“Water started flowing into the houses. Everyone run to his house for safety but the waters were too scary. I saw cars being washed away together with trees and rocks. We were stranded,” she said.

Zodiak Online visit to the center witnessed three vehicles stationed there.

“These cars you are seeing came here with the waters from elsewhere. There were many of them. Some have been collected by their owners. The trees you are seeing were not like this. They were many. A lot of them have been taken by the people,” said Mussa.

We are still at the center. The fence surrounding it is down. The borehole that used to water the center was soiled by the mud and rocks that descended from Ndirande hill. Some people are breaking the rocks for quarry trade. They are huge rocks. The water paths are visible up the Ndirande hill.

We witnessed the rooms that housed the children with disabilities and the orphaned filled up with mud. Almost half the height of the center was submerged.

“The floods were scary. All this place was filled up with water and mud. I called out for help and people came and took the children to the rooftop; otherwise, it could have been deadly.

“I myself was stuck in the mud that raised up to my armpit level. The mud was everywhere and they were hot and itchy. I saw my neighbor’s house being washed away.

“People came and take me to the Seventh day Adventist Church which is very close for safety while the children were still on the rooftop. It was still raining. It is taking about five days to get rid of the mud from just a single room,” she said.

Mussa saw the hand of God saving her and the children from what could have been a fatal encounter.

“I only thank God. There were kids in the houses because the parents were at the funeral. All my 18 children, none of them was injured. Only me sustained minor injuries. Everyone now is crying for their houses and possessions.

“We stayed for three days without food and blanket. Everything got washed away. Not even a spoon was left. The children are now being kept by well-wishers,” she said.

Happiness Mussa has been living at the centre for ten years now. She is 20 and a second-year surgery and scanning student at Mulanje Green World. She has a disability.

On this day, Happiness was home while her fellow students were in class because she was chased away from school for not being able to settle fees balance.

“I think I was unconscious when the whole incident happened because I was not aware of anything at the time. When I was back to my senses, I asked the people what happened and was told that my house was demolished.

“I stayed for about 1.5 hours without knowing what was happening. I was mentally affected. Everything is gone. My education materials, clothes, etc. It was tough as we didn’t expect this to happen. We only thank God that we are alive,” she said.

“With what has happened, there is no hope that the fees balance will be settled any time soon. I am remaining with K180, 000 to pay. The whole amount is K350, 000,” she said.

Besides relief items which are food and nonfood items which individuals and organizations are offering the people, Josephine Mussa has also asked for psycho-social support, especially to the children.

“These children have seen the worse that it may not be easy to get away with the trauma. Psycho-social support is needed to bring them back to normal life,” she said.

Cyclone Freddy has left homeless over 650, 000 people as over 880, 000 households had their houses either partially or completely damaged.

Most of these people are seeking refugees in 747 camps in the southern region of Malawi.

President Lazarus Chakwera declared state of disaster after Freddy hit the country, killing about 700 people, with hundreds more missing.

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Last modified on Friday, 21/04/2023

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