Malawi Floods: What went wrong? by Leonard Chanza

Malawi was hit by devastating floods early this year. The president Professor Peter Mutharika on January 13th, declared a State of Emergency. However the million dollar question is; didn’t we see this coming? Trees in most parts of Malawi are being depleted at an alarming rate due to high demand of firewood, charcoal and building materials. This poses a great threat to Malawi as a country, the recent  floods have swanned this. Leonard Chanza  a freelance photo journalist and contributor to this blog, takes us through one the  main causes of the floods that claimed 48 innocent lives and displaced an estimated 13,999 households (69,995 people):

Malawi Floods

1a. A group of survivors crossing a  river. Photograph: Shiraaz Mohamed/AP-The Guardian.

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1b. A hut almost swallowed by flooding water. Photo courtesy of UN Malawi.

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2. A tree standing on a covered ground checking soil erosion and river siltation.

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3. A vendor transporting firewood to a nearest market. Natural trees are targeted for firewood.

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4. This Charcoal vendor uses more than five trees to  pack one bag full of good qualily charcoal like the one in the photo.

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5. Trees are wantonly cut for burning of bricks for construction.

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6. Timber selling point in Salima, Malawi. Timber mainly for roofing purposes.