Nor any drop to drink
(Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner)
This rainy season is unusual for Malawi. As well as causing devastation to many churches, homes and public buildings, the weather also brings home the fact that despite decades as an independent nation striving for social and economic development many challenges remain. especially when it comes to power, water and sanitation.
- About 90% of Malawi’s 15 million people live in rural areas, where water-related diseases and HIV/AIDS are widespread.
- Up to 2.4M people in Malawi don’t have access to safe water.
- Over 14 million people don’t have access to adequate sanitation in Malawi, 90% of the population.
- In these rural areas as few as two in ten people have access to a toilet.
- Over 3,500 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation in Malawi.
- In the country as a whole only 9% of people have access to electricity.
Much of Blantyre’s public water supply comes from the mighty Shire River (pronounced ‘Sheeray’), and it also supplies much of the electricity for the country through large hydro-electricity generating stations.
Ironically too much rain entering the river system results in the huge challenges faced at the moment with long water outages and electricity cuts. We end up with water, water, everywhere but nothing to drink and no electricity to cook with.
Water: Too much debris and mud in the river blocks the intakes on the river at Walker Ferry. And the electricity cuts stop the massive pumps required to lift the water thousands of feet from the river in the rift valley to Blantyre at approx 3,700 feet above sea level.
Electricity: Trash and debris continuously clogs the intake of the power stations at Nkula, Tedzani, and Kapichira requiring frequent shut down to facilitate cleaning.
At the moment we have electricity but have been without water for days as has the whole of Malawi. However the bible college – with dozens of students living in close proximity – has been without water for much much longer. And in Blantyre we have it easy compared to the vast majority of Malawi folk in rural settings.
Pray for the people of Malawi at this challenging time:
- Give praise to God for the rains that are making the crops grow so quickly.
- Give thanks to God for all those things that in the West we take for granted: water and electricity!
- Pray for all those effected by the heavy rains – so many have lost loved ones and lost their houses.
- Pray for the leaders of Malawi that they would faithfully look to the good of their people.
Visit the sites of organisations like WaterAid who do so much great work across Malawi – often close alongside zm and ZEC – to bring water and sanitation to Malawi.
Consider supporting the repair and rebuild of damaged/destroyed roofs of churches and pastor’s homes across Malawi through giving to zm.