IsraAID responds to Cyclone Freddy in Malawi
Israeli organization setting up cholera prevention points as the country faces outbreak
Monday, March 20, 2023. For immediate release:
IsraAID, Israel’s leading humanitarian aid organization, is launching an emergency response in Malawi, as the devastating impact of Tropical Cyclone Freddy over the past few days threatens to compound the effects of the Southeast African country’s deadliest ever cholera outbreak, ongoing since March 2022. Cyclone Freddy, which first made landfall in late February and swept over the region for the second time last week, is one of the longest-lasting and deadliest cyclones in African history. The storm has killed at least 447 people in Malawi, with over 900 injured and 282 still missing, as of March 17. IsraAID’s initial response will focus on cholera prevention throughout the affected area amid this double emergency.
Across the region, the cyclone has left hundreds dead and over a thousand injured or missing. In Malawi, over 362,900 people have been displaced, with many currently residing in 505 camps across the affected area where the risk of cholera is high. Cyclone Freddy first made landfall in Madagascar on February 21, continuing on to Mozambique and Zimbabwe before turning back out to sea. It made its second landfall in Mozambique on March 11, and continued as a tropical depression over southern Malawi, bringing torrential rains, flooding and mudslides.
IsraAID’s response will focus on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene needs, as well as Health concerns. After cyclones, flooding and lack of sanitation can lead to cholera outbreaks, causing a secondary crisis. In a country already experiencing an ongoing and deadly cholera outbreak, with more than 36,000 cases and 1,200 deaths from March 2022-February 2023, IsraAID will install cholera prevention points to provide safe drinking water, sanitation needs and early treatment in order to prevent the disease from spreading further in the cyclone-affected area.
IsraAID began working in neighboring Mozambique following Cyclone Idai in March of 2019, and remains there today with a long-term mission focused on humanitarian needs in conflict-stricken Cabo Delgado province. With the help of Adi Timor of Timor Group, the organization is in close collaboration with the Office of the President of Malawi, after the President’s office requested IsraAID’s support based on their expertise in the region.
IsraAID’s CEO, Yotam Polizer, said:
“Our hearts go out to the people of Malawi who have lost their homes and loved ones in this storm. Building on our previous experience working with communities affected by cyclones, and the work of our nearby mission in Mozambique, IsraAID is launching a swift response to Cyclone Freddy, which threatens to compound an already devastating cholera outbreak. In the aftermath of cyclones, access to safe drinking water is essential, and early interventions are crucial to preventing a secondary health crisis.”
Further information is available on request, including interviews with IsraAID CEO Yotam Polizer and other individuals involved in this operation.
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IsraAID is a leading international humanitarian non-governmental organization, based in Israel. Since 2001, IsraAID has become synonymous with a rapid response to humanitarian crises. Its medical teams, post-trauma experts, community specialists and other professionals have led international responses to disasters and civil strife around the world. During and after emergencies, IsraAID partners with local communities to re-build their lives, their communities and their futures, together. As of March 2023, IsraAID has responded to crises in more than 60 countries.