More than 900 food packs have been given to families forced to abandon their homes after weeks of torrential rain caused widespread flooding.

Zain Bhikha meets people affected by the floods

Zain Bhikha meets people affected by the floods

Singer and songwriter Zain Bhikha was among those who took time out from performing to help distribute aid to people affected by the floods in Malawi.

Zain Bhikha was in the country to perform at two fundraising shows for Classic Events, a local organisation that hosts the Malawi Muslim Awards. Islamic Relief and Classic Events took him to Likotima village, Chingumula, in Blantyre to help distribute 180 food packs to affected families.

He was briefed on the current situation and our response to the floods. Many families need tents, food and non-food items like blankets, kitchen sets and mosquito nets. Bhikha was also taken to some homes that were destroyed by the deluge.

Seeking refuge in a church

Islamic Relief has also distributed food to 150 families from three villages in Nchalo, Chikwawa. In the villages, more than 625 families have taken refuge in camps. In one area, more than 300 women and children are sleeping on the floor of a small church, while men are sleeping in small tents. They all share one toilet and one bathroom.

People queue patiently for their food packs.

People queue patiently for their food packs.

Governor of the area Hassan Fatch said everything was in short supply in the camps, while a lot of the children had malaria and the clinic was too far away for them to reach.

“The food Islamic Relief has brought to us is a Godsend,” he said.

A further 450 food packs have been ordered and will be distributed in three wards in Blantyre and one of the big displacement sites in Nsanje district, Bangula – where more than 5,000 people are seeking shelter in a school.

Each food pack contains 50kg of maize flour, 5kg of beans and 1kg of salt.

There is also growing concern that disease could spread because of the poor sanitation at the relocation sites, and mosquito outbreaks due to stagnant waters. Malnutrition has also been reported in a number of camps.

The floods began in January after weeks of torrential rain in Malawi. A state of emergency was declared at the beginning of the month when the Shire River burst its banks and flood water swept across whole villages. Support our emergency response.