UN pledges mental health help

Country Director and Representative of the UN WFP in Malawi, Paul Turnbull interacts with UN Resident for Malawi Coordinator, Rabecca Addah-Dontoh in Blantyre-(c) Abel Ikiloni, Mana

United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator for Malawi Rabecca Addah-Dontoh on Thursday said there was need for survivors of the recent tropical cyclone Freddy to receive mental and psychosocial support.

She was speaking during a press briefing by the Department of Disaster and Management Affairs (DoDMA) on effects of tropical cyclone Freddy.

 Addah-Dontoh said with heads of missions from World Food Programme and World Health Organisation for the past three days conducted assessment of the situation in different districts where they discovered that a lot of people were traumatised by the events that happened.

“Women and children have been highly affected by the cyclone. When we visited Chikwawa we saw affected people sleeping on the floor. Cyclone Freddy has destroyed the dignity of people.

“However the mental health of these people is not being taken care of even though the trauma is too much. As UN we will see how we can do to assist these people as most of the times these have long term effects,” said Addah-Dontoh. 

She then applauded Malawians for efforts being made in assisting those in need of support.

“Malawians are standing up. I want to applaud Malawians for they are mobilising themselves to assist those in need. This makes it easy for other people to come in and assist,” she said.

Speaking during the conference Malawi Defence Force Deputy Chief of Military Operations Colonel Lameck Kalenga said the Zambian government had agreed to send two aircrafts to Malawi to assist in the search and rescue mission and in airlifting of assistance to areas which are accessible.

Colonel Kalenga said the crafts; a relief aid aircraft and rescue M18 aircrafts were expected to be in the country by Friday morning.

Commissioner of Disaster Charles Kalemba said the reported figures of those rescued or assisted will increase as it will be easy to reach them.

He said as of Thursday the country had recorded 40,702 affected households with 317 camps as commissioned by 14 councils with death toll standing at 326 and number of injured Malawians standing at 796 and 201 reported missing.

Mercy Makuwira, Mana