Cyclone Freddy, one of the most powerful tropical storms ever to hit southern Malawi, made landfall for the second time in a month on 12 March 2023. The ensuing flooding has devastated the region and displaced more than 560,000 people. According to the Malawi Department of Disaster Management, 511 people lost their lives and more than 1,300 were injured.
Blantyre, Malawi’s second-largest city and home to Beit-CURE Children’s Hospital of Malawi (CURE Malawi) has been declared a “state of disaster.”
CURE remains open and our staff is safe, though some are dealing with damage to or total loss of their homes. Our colleagues have been working overtime to maintain hospital operations and safely transport staff and patients to and from their homes.
CURE provides medical care to children injured in flooding
CURE Malawi is adjacent to several government healthcare facilities that are overrun with injuries and death. Our hospital doors are open and responding to the urgent need.
Right now, CURE is providing surgical and ministry care to children injured in the floods. We are doing this in addition to the regular care we provide to children living with treatable disabilities like cleft palate, clubfoot, and bowed legs.
CURE Malawi is a 58-bed teaching hospital that performs over 2,100 life-changing pediatric reconstructive and orthopedic surgeries each year—free of charge thanks to generous donors. The hospital is providing the highest standard of care to children injured in the aftermath of Cyclone Freddy, along with meals and shelter for their families and/or caregivers.
On behalf of the people of Malawi, Her Excellency First Lady Madame Monica Chakwera visited CURE to encourage patients and staff. Her message was one of gratitude: “It is an honor to visit with the people that have given themselves to help those who have been affected by Cyclone Freddy, especially children who have gone through heavy trauma. God bless you abundantly.”
“CURE exists to provide medical care to the most vulnerable children,” said Elly Chemey, Executive Director of CURE Malawi. “I can think of none more vulnerable right now than children injured in the flooding—children who lost homes, family members, and hope. The surgical and ministry teams at CURE Malawi, some of whom have lost homes and loved ones themselves, are committed to serving these hurt children and helping prevent their injuries from becoming permanent disabilities. Please join with us, and with others around the world, in asking God’s protection for all affected.”
Viton, an eight-year-old boy, is among the first patients with injuries from the flood that CURE is treating. He was pulled from the mud by two men who heard his screams and rushed him to a local hospital. There, he learned he would need surgery for a broken femur.
The local hospital, overwhelmed by cases just like Viton’s—and worse—was unable to perform the surgery. He was transferred to CURE, accompanied by his uncle.
As he awaited surgery to treat his leg, Viton told us: “I have not seen my mother for three days now. I heard she got washed away in the flood too. Like my mother, I was utterly wiped out by the mud.”
Thankfully, Viton’s mother was found and taken to neighboring Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH), where she’s being treated along with one of Viton’s sisters. CURE is also supporting QECH by sterilizing their equipment so they can keep pace with the volume of surgeries they are performing.
CURE’s surgeons successfully repaired Viton’s broken leg, and after he’s discharged he will be taken to visit his mom and sister. While Viton’s father, a pastor, seeks new housing for the family after their home was washed away, CURE has offered a safe place for the entire family to shelter.
CURE’s spiritual ministry team is trained to provide the trauma counseling and support children and families need after living through a natural disaster, losing their homes, and losing their loved ones. They will pray with children like Viton and their families, encouraging them with the love of Christ.
Flooding expected to increase cholera epidemic
To complicate the situation in Malawi, the nation is in the grips of its worst outbreak of cholera in two decades, with more than 50,000 confirmed cases and over 1,500 dead, according to UNICEF-Malawi. Roughly 600 new cases are confirmed each day. Both children and adults are susceptible to infection.
Because cholera is primarily spread through contaminated water, this flooding is expected to increase the cholera risk in Malawi and hinder efforts to control and treat the outbreak. Maintaining the highest standards of medical care, CURE screens everyone who enters the hospital for the illness and encourages visitors to report any contact with persons with cholera. The hospital’s sanitation and infection-prevention precautions are among the best in the country.
You can help Malawi’s children in need
As local hospitals continue to be overwhelmed with patients, more children are expected to need medical care from CURE. We are grateful for our generous donors who make this care possible.
Here are two ways you can partner with CURE to serve Malawi’s most vulnerable children right now:
- Make a special gift to provide immediate medical and ministry care for children injured in the flooding.Our hospital team is already treating injured children and expect many more to come.
- Please pray for all impacted by Cyclone Freddy, and for CURE’s 125 colleagues in Malawi as they continue to provide medical and ministry care to vulnerable children amid dangerous flooding in Blantyre.