Malawi: Recounting the Loss From Flood Disaster


Mathews Damiano hails from Brighton village in traditional authority Mbenje in Nsanje. The devastating effects of floods that hit Nsanje district did not spare him and his family. The house he labored to build is now nothing but rubble. It is not even possible to tell where the front or back door was.

“It took us time to build this house. For two years, with proceeds from our small business, we put away money to build this house. We used to buy building materials in bits and pieces until the materials were enough to build a house. It’s a sad development for us,” said Mathews as he stood in front of his damaged house alongside his wife and children.

Mathews is undoubtedly a hard worker. He travels to the Malawi-Mozambique border to buy commodities to sell at Bangula, one of the busiest trading centres in Nsanje district.

As his food business grew, he constructed a store house 50 meters away from his house. But like his home, the store has been reduced to rubble, putting the livelihood of his family at stake.

At the time of its destruction, the store house had merchandise such as bananas, mangoes, oranges and cocoa worth over K50,000 ($104 USD).

To restore his home and rebuild his business it will take effort and time. Damiano will have to forget, for a moment, about living the life they used to live before the devastating floods.

“It will take us some time to recover from this damage. It took us years of hard work to build our house and the store house. We don’t know what to do now,” Damiano complained.

Three of his five children are in primary school at Bangula primary school. For a week they have not been learning because their school has been turned into a displacement camp. Their classrooms have become their new bedrooms. They never thought that one day they would be displaced from a home in which their parents invested so much, but the flood disaster has made it a painful reality.

Written by Sandra Bulling, CARE Media and Communications Coordinator