Escaping collapsing roofs and scalding oil in Malawi

With 36 roads inaccessible because of damaged bridges, Malawi’s president has told the BBC that some victims of Tropical Storm Freddy are still not getting aid.

Lazarus Chakwera spoke to the BBC on the sidelines of his visit to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Blantyre where many of those injured in the floods caused by the storm are being treated.

Patients at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital
BBC/Rhoda OdhiamboCopyright: BBC/Rhoda Odhiambo
The 67-year-old president says his country is looking for assistance with more medicines and helicopters.

On Wednesday, he declared the devastation caused by Freddy in Malawi, which has killed 225 people, a “national tragedy”.

Mr Chakwera commended the work of doctors attending to the injured.

One of those at the hospital during the visit was Ellen Chikoya, a 38-year-old vendor from Blantyre’s Mayani township. She told the BBC that her house had been affected by the flooding.

“I’m here to support my neighbour whose child is currently in hospital with injuries. The girl was caught up in some rubble from a mudslide and injured her back and her legs.”

Twenty-five-year-old Tania Geverson said she was there because the roof of her house had collapsed on her daughter.

“My four-year-old child was injured this morning. The roof collapsed suddenly. It wasn’t raining but it’s been wet from previous days of rain. My daughter is currently getting X-rays done. I am happy with the support so far,” she said.

Zimaya Jamiya, 31, is at the hospital to care for his sister who was injured on Monday.

“She was cooking – while doing so, we could hear a loud noise and we discovered my neighbour’s house was collapsing,” Ms Jamiya told the BBC.

“We decided to make a run for it but the pot my sister was using to cook fell on and the cooking oil burnt her leg.

“As we were trying to assist her our own roof collapsed. The doctors at this hospital have been amazing, they are trying their best.

“However at home, we don’t have food assistance. We need help with that.”

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