Medic to Medic volunteer CEO, Tamsin Lillie, asked members of the M2M environmental committee to do a Blogpost for International Mother Earth day, which was on the 22nd April. This was very soon after the devastation caused to Malawi by Cyclone Freddy and our alumnus, Brighton Lupeska rose to the challenge. He has recently qualified as a psycho-social counsellor from St John of God College in Mzuzu and is now in Lilongwe doing voluntary counselling work to gain experience. He hopes to be able to set up his own practice in due course.
Brighton in the St John of God campus in October 2022
The impact of cyclone Freddy to people of Malawi and possible solutions
by Brighton Lupeska
As we commemorate environmental day worldwide, Malawi in March 2023 experienced a heavy environmental disruption and a significant impact on the people of Malawi, as well as on the environment. The cyclone caused widespread flooding, destruction of infrastructure, loss of life, and displacement of communities. The impact of the cyclone on the environment was severe, with extensive damage to forests, wildlife habitats, and agricultural land. Tree planting can help to restore the environment and mitigate the impact of future extreme weather events, while also providing social and economic benefits to local communities.
The President of Malawi described Tropical Cyclone Freddy as more devastating than any other disaster Malawi has ever experienced. The death toll has risen to 511, with at least 533 people still missing, and over 560,000 people displaced in more than 570 sites, according to Department of disaster affairs on 22 March 2023.
The impact of Cyclone Freddy on the people of Malawi was devastating. Floods caused by heavy rainfall destroyed homes, infrastructure, and crops, resulting in food shortages, loss of income, and displacement of communities. The cyclone also led to loss of life, with many people killed or injured. The impact of the cyclone on vulnerable groups, such as women and children, was particularly severe, as they were disproportionately affected by the loss of homes and livelihoods.
Tree planting can help to restore damaged ecosystems and mitigate the impact of future extreme weather events. Trees provide a natural defense against the effects of climate change, as they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reduce the risk of soil erosion, and help to regulate the water cycle. By planting trees, communities can help to restore damaged ecosystems, reduce the risk of soil erosion, and increase the resilience of agricultural land.
In addition to their environmental benefits, tree planting can also have social and economic benefits. Planting fruit trees can provide a source of food and income for local communities. It can also create employment opportunities, as planting and maintaining trees requires labor. Furthermore, by involving local communities in the tree planting process, it can help to build social cohesion and increase community resilience.
To make tree planting effective, it is important to engage with local communities and ensure that they have the necessary skills and resources to plant and maintain trees. This includes providing training on tree planting techniques, access to seedlings and other planting materials, and support with monitoring and maintenance.
In conclusion, Cyclone Freddy had a severe impact on the people of Malawi and the environment. Tree planting can help to restore damaged ecosystems and mitigate the impact of future extreme weather events. It also provides social and economic benefits to local communities. However, for tree planting initiatives to be effective, it is important to engage with local communities and ensure that they have the necessary skills and resources to plant and maintain trees. By working together, we can help to build more resilient communities and mitigate the impact of climate change.
Want to find out more about how you can support tomorrow’s future healthcare workers in Malawi, Uganda and Zambia? Check us out on social media (links below) or visit our website at www.medictomedic.org.uk