Fastino’s village in Zomba and his country, Malawi, are unquestionably on the frontlines of climate change, bearing the brunt of floods and droughts.
On the night of March 8, 2019 when Cyclone Idai hit, Fastino said that members of the community ran to upper areas to escape.
The villagers received support from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Programme Malawi (CCPM) when the cyclone hit. The CCPM was administered by SCIAF and implemented by Trócaire, in partnership with eight local partners. They received blankets, buckets, sweet potato, cassava, and maize seeds.
The Cyclone destroyed many of their crops and livestock and damaged their homes. In Malawi, over 850,000 people were affected by the Cyclone and nearly 87,000 people had to leave their homes.
“Our crops were washed away during the floods,” Fastino said, who has four children, a son and three daughters. “At the time of the floods, the water was up to my shoulders. We used boats to get the kids to the camp.”
There are several boats in the community because it is just a few miles from Lake Chilwa. It is here that we see the flip side of climate change. The increase in temperature in Malawi has led to a frequent drying out of Lake Chilwa, once a great source of food and jobs for people in this area.
Climate change in Malawi has led to an increase in extreme, intense rainfall and flooding and an increase in hot days and dry periods. The country is currently on track for five degrees of global warming this century without a radical reduction in carbon emissions.
This will be catastrophic for the people of Malawi. The vast majority of households here are headed by small farmers who depend on reliable rainfall and fertile soils to get by. Malawi’s own carbon emissions are eighty times less than Ireland’s.