by Cinelle Barnes
“I was totally traumatized,” said Zainabu Lesitula, a mother whose home was destroyed by Cyclone Idai. “I lost everything. When the storm hit, I felt so scared.”
Zainabu and her infant son were displaced when the cyclone tore through Malawi in March 2019. They had to live with thousands of other survivors in the Namicheni displacement camp. Initially, the only water available was from a local factory, which was trucked in inconsistently. The supply was insufficient and had yet to be tested for safety or quality.
“The little drips of water were not enough. To get more, we had to walk a mile to the next water source,” Zainabu said.
Within a week of Cyclone Idai’s landfall, Water Mission had assessed and targeted safe water needs in southeastern Africa, working on the ground as one of the first responders to the storm. We have since optimized and expanded the output of existing safe water systems in Malawi to serve more than 23,000 internally displaced people.
Zainabu collects water with many others who have been forced from their homes by the cyclone Safe water was one of the most critical needs for survivors of the disaster. Zainabu said that life was very hard for them, but the provision of safe water alleviated many concerns. It brought her hope amid destruction. We pray that she and other survivors will have all they need as they try to rebuild. And we thank God for being their refuge from the storm.