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Dwangwa communities hail Illovo support

Debwe (L) handing maize flour to Merina

By Edwin Mauluka

Communities from Dwangwa in Nkhotakota district have hailed the continued support from the leading sugar manufacturer, Illovo Sugar Malawi ever since the area was devastated by the floods in February this year.

On February 27, 2024, floods caused havoc around Dwangwa in the area of Senior Chief Kanyenda XIV, leading to the death of seven people with serious damage to property, infrastructure, and crops including rice and sugarcane farmlands.

“When Dwangwa river flooded, our village was surrounded by water.” Recalls Merina Chiona a mother of three children from Simiyoni village who is now residing at Ngala Lakeland School camp

“I carried my 10-year-old child on my shoulder as I was walking through the water which was above my chest trying to get to a safe place. Then, community rescue team helped us to reach to an upland area which was not safe. While there, Illovo company vehicles came and ferried us to a safe place where we stayed for a short while before coming to this camp.” She said

On Tuesday, she received a 50 Kg bag of maize flour from Illovo when the company was distributing 200 metric tons of maize flour to the affected households in the district.

Merina Chiona carrying maize flour

“Sometimes we go to sleep without when the camp food is finished. We don’t have means to get food because we lost everything and we don’t have money to buy food. So, I am thankful to Illovo for this timely assistance. Now, we will be able to eat every day.” Said Merina

Senior Group Village Headman Chalemba expressed great appreciation for the continued support Illovo is giving to the people who were affected by the floods through food and non-food support.

“We are grateful to Illovo for various support it is giving to our people during times like this. Also, Illovo we appreciate good relationship that exist between the company and all Dwangwa Estate surrounding communities.” He said

Cross section of men and women waiting to receive maize flour at Ngala Lakeland School Camp

He then advised beneficiaries not to sale the donated food and asked police at Nkhunga to arrest anyone found selling or buying the donated items.

When making the donation at Ngala Lakeland School camp, Illovo Sugar Malawi General Manager for Dwangwa Estate, Maclean Debwe said the donation demonstrates the company’s commitment to creating and sustaining a thriving Dwangwa Community.

Debwe – Illovo demonstrates commitment to creating and sustaining a thriving Dwangwa Community

“We are delighted to make another step in living by this commitment by donating 4000 bags of 50Kg each, which is 200 metric tons of maize flour to Nkhotakota District Council for distribution to the affected households in the district.” He said adding that the company will ensure that all victims are reached out with the donation.

He indicated that this support is worth over K220 million and expressed hope that the donation will ensure that Dwangwa communities have adequate food.

Debwe also disclosed that as a result of the floods, surrounding sugarcane farmers and Dwangwa Illovo Estate lost sugarcane yield in excess of 100,000 tons equivalent to 10,000 tons of sugar.

“The effects of the floods were so huge that most of the communities are at risk of being food secure this year.” He added

Ngala camp has a population of 3300 people representing 580 households from Matiki, Ngala and Nyamvuwu areas. They reside in classroom blocks and teachers houses within the compound of Ngala Lakeland School.

According to Nkhotakota District Council Disaster Officer John Manda, following the rising water in lake Malawi, another camp has been set up at Chikupweche around Chia Lagoon with about 150 people.

Manda said currently there is a total of 7800 people affected by floods and appreciated Illovo for supporting the district council in relocating the victims to Ngala camp.

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