Scotland's response to climate damage in Malawi

(C) BBC 2 . jpg, Mphatso School

Scotland is among the first nations to contribute money to cover "loss and damage" brought on by climate change in less developed nations.

Homes were washed away in the Malawian village of Mambundungu during the torrential downpours, but that was far from the worst of it.

Crocodiles abounded in the floodwaters. They swept children off their feet. It was frightful.

Finally, in 2015, the villagers had had enough and relocated their entire community to a higher location.

Then, the new village also started to flood.

The effects of climate change have severely impacted Malawi in east Africa.

But because it is one of the world's poorest nations, it has a hard time affording the necessary repairs.

The Scottish government has stepped in to support the idea that wealthy countries should contribute to the cost of repairing the harm caused by climate change in less developed nations.

Mambundungu villagers (c) BBC 2 . jpg
To avoid the floods, the residents of Mambundungu relocated to higher ground.

It pledged £2 million for a "loss and damage" program at the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, marking a first-ever in the world. From April, an additional £5m is promised.

Other world leaders finally decided they would imitate that example at COP27 in Egypt in November.

Some of the funds are being used to build flood defenses in the new uphill settlement in Mambundungu.

Village chief Isaac Mambundungu claimed he was forced to take his people to a safer location.

People attempted to build decent homes, but the water destroyed them, he said.

Even our young children were taken by the water. The people would be attacked by even the crocodiles that live in the river.

We chose to relocate to higher ground after realizing this. ".

Mambundungu New village flood defences (c) BBC 1 . jpg
In the new uphill community, flood defenses are being built with funding from the Scottish government.

Not everyone, though, has embraced the decision.

Due to the more fertile farming land, Dorika Matiyasi has already moved back to the original village.

She claimed that the flooding they had fled from had spread to the new community.

So, what do we do? she inquires.

Around 80% of Malawians are thought to be agrarian workers, and the southern part of the country is a patchwork of small plots primarily used for the cultivation of maize.

According to the World Food Programme, it is a life of extreme poverty, with 30.8 million people at risk of food insecurity and many rural communities lacking access to electricity.

Isaac Mambundungu (c) BBC 1 . jpg
Village chief Isaac Mambundungu claimed he was forced to take his people to a safer location.

Organizations like the Scottish Catholic Aid Fund (Sciaf), which receives funding from the Scottish government, invest in Malawi.

Six villages were singled out as having experienced significant climate change effects.

The Mphatso preschool in Ngabu, which was originally built by the Roger Federer Foundation and ActionAid, is being rebuilt with some of the £500,000 Sciaf has allotted.

Early in 2022, when Tropical Storm Ana and Cyclone Gombe dumped rain, the school was converted into a temporary camp for the thousands of people whose homes had been destroyed, resulting in the destruction of buildings and the suspension of classes.

Mphatso school (C) BBC 2 . jpg
Early in 2022, Tropical Storm Ana and Cyclone Gombe's rains caused damage to the Mphatso pre-school in Ngabu.

"Those from the lower grounds running from the water came to camp here," says teacher Hannah Sozah. Additionally, they impeded learning. .

"The people who had come to camp here made it impossible for us to operate our school. It was very challenging to teach. We had to overcome that difficulty. ".

The school's kitchens were destroyed, so the kids have been forced to eat their breakfast porridge outside under the shade of trees.

However, the "loss and damage" money is now being used to rebuild the school's destroyed areas.

The money is different from the kind of humanitarian aid that comes in the wake of a significant disaster, according to Sciaf's advocacy manager, Ben Wilson.

"Frequently, that aid and those aid workers leave because they move on to the next disaster, and there is always a next disaster," he claims.

The communities have already received that immediate support, so this money is coming in later. They are receiving the support they require to bounce back, to increase their resilience, and to get their lives back on track. ".

Lucy Banda Mbenje (C) BBC 1 . jpg
The leader of the group village, Lucy Banda Mbenje, claims that a significant change in the environment has occurred.

Some of the funds go toward safeguarding a cemetery in the village of Mbenje where graves are frequently lifted and carried away by floodwaters.

In order to bury the dead, village leaders had to enlist the help of neighboring communities.

It takes a long time for them to start digging again after floods because of saturated ground.

The tombstones are submerged when the water comes, according to group village head Lucy Banda Mbenje. Just by doing a little digging, the water level is so high, even after the water has subsided and we have a funeral.

We can't bury the dead in the water, so we go ask for other cemeteries, she explains.

"The weather has significantly changed. Our cemetery was unaffected by previous flooding, if that makes sense. In our cemetery, there was no water.

. "

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