Tropical Cyclone Ana roared through southern Malawi at the end of January 2022, bringing high winds and heavy rains, ripping off roofs, destroying houses and flattening crops in the fields. Malawi declared a national disaster as more than 30 people died, 800,000 were affected, with infrastructure and power supplies significantly damaged.
Our area sustained a great deal of destruction, but one of the worst places affected was Msikita Village where we’d built a Community Centre a few years earlier. This building had always been the social hub of the village and place of refuge in previous storms, but this time it became another victim, much to the distress of the villagers. So its restoration became a key part of our community reconstruction programme and we began the work.....
But worse was to come—in mid-March, Cyclone Gombe crashed in, multiplying the damage, causing wide-spread flooding that deposited tons of sand and debris from higher ground.
At this time the roof was off the Centre, awaiting the imminent delivery of the replacement timbers, and our building team couldn't even access the site because of floods and dangerous travelling conditions. The work was put on hold, but eventually the water receded, and the renovation continued.
The floor had been damaged so we re-laid it, raising it to avoid future flood risk, along with the corresponding roof level, replacing timbers and recycling the iron sheets. The flooding had been profound, and it took a long while for the building’s fabric to dry out completely, but eventually the nursery school could return, and the Community Centre became the fully functioning heart of the village again.