malawi storm survivors place hope in solar power to switch on \'new life\'

by:Tunto     2020-01-24
Charles pensullokiwa, Malawi, July 4
Thomson Reuters Foundation
-Residents of the village of Mwalija were violently awakened by hurricane Idai as they were shocked and flooded during the march.
\"It\'s a terrible situation where we rushed to the place where there were solar panels,\" said Hannah Langya, pointing to the fence around the solar system on the Highlands.
\"The water reached the height of the neck,\" she said . \" Some people were forced to hang on branches, she added.
This small solar plant, installed by the international development charity Practical Action in 2016 with funding from the European Union, is located in a raised area near the Shire River, the main source of flooding in this area in southern Malawi. But the UK-
S. -based aid agency says solar panels survive a powerful cyclone due to early planning, and it hopes that this will pay off as climate change brings more extreme weather.
The metal bracket for solar panels is 15 cm (6 inches)
They are thick and deep and reinforced with concrete, so they are able to withstand the strong winds and heavy rain of Idai.
Now, solar installations protect villagers in the Chikwawa district from the direct threat of the storm, and they hope it will help them recover their lives more quickly. Solar micro
The power grid supplies electricity to irrigation systems, schools, clinics and business development centers.
Villagers have moved nearly 3 km now. 1. 86 miles)
They hope they will be safer in the extreme weather in the future.
But they want to go back to their land and start farming again.
The local government is also considering extending the power supply line of the solar micro-grid.
For the new home of the villagers.
Kudzai Marovanidze, director of Southern Africa at the Practical Action Group, said Hurricane Idai was a \"grim and deadly reminder\" of the impact of climate change on the world\'s poorest people \".
The storm landed in the middle.
March around the city of Bella in Mozambique and then head west across eastern Zimbabwe, which has also brought huge flooding to Malawi.
More than 1,000 people were killed in the three countries and nearly 3 million needed humanitarian assistance.
Massive rescue operations led by the United StatesN.
Agencies and international humanitarian groups provided emergency food to some 732,000 survivors in Malawi and provided them with clean water, sanitation and other necessities.
Marovanidze said such weather hazards are becoming more frequent and intense.
\"We must ensure that climate resilience is at the center of all future development efforts so that people have the skills, tools and knowledge to deal with and recover from disasters, he said in an email comment.
\"If the aid community, as well as international agencies such as governments and the United StatesN.
\"The World Bank will not adopt a different approach and millions of dollars of investment will continue to be lost,\" he added . \".
The hurricane affected aid projects for some practical actions, including solar energy-
Electric irrigation and Micro
The company says 85% of power grids in Zimbabwe and Malawi still survive.
Actual action organization Malawi Representative victor Chambayika Mhango told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the area in which it works has a long history of flooding, which is considered in the design of solar irrigation systems.
\"This is part of the disaster prevention preparedness advocated by practical actions to ensure that technology can respond to local conditions and achieve its goals even in the face of recent disasters such as cyclones, he wrote in an email.
But in an area of the Chikwawa district, solar energy-
The power water tower built by the actual action provides clean drinking water to the entire community, collapsed and needs to be rebuilt because it does not take into account the risk of the storm.
Longeya, the chairman of the irrigation section of the Mwalija solar project, said that about 60 solar panels in the array have changed the lives of local people.
\"We grow different crops, such as beans, tomatoes and corn, after sale (them)
We support our family.
They also benefit from our children when they use electric lights to learn.
\"We also learn about current affairs by watching TV,\" she said . \".
But the mother of four children-their newly built house has just been connected to a solar micro --
The grid before the storm-said the family had to move with about 100 other villagers because everything except the solar system was damaged.
Mhango said that the humanitarian emergency response team has identified the recovery of solar irrigation plans in the affected areas as a priority to ensure that families can recover quickly.
While other villagers in langgiya and mvallia still crave food and shelter, like thousands in the area, they want their irrigation plans and the continued use of solar energy to enable them to \"start a new life \".
\"Also in the mulangje district of southern Malawi, a local energy charity took a hard course on water and electricity in 2016, when 40 days of heavy rain destroyed its small-
The scale hydropower plant located in Mulan Jie Mountain.
\"Our first power plant was washed away and three of our guards died in the process.
It was a painful experience, \"Arnold kazpone, project coordinator at Mulanje\'s Renewable Energy Agency, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
\"Our charities and communities recognize the importance of preventing future losses,\" he added . \".
One of the agency\'s three mini
The grid now supplies electricity to more than 800 families, eight corn plants, five schools and a local clinic.
In order to protect the power plant from extreme weather, the basin was better managed.
To this end, 20,000 trees have been planted and bamboo and other vegetation have been introduced to cover the ground to prevent soil loss.
A nursery has been set up in the local community to support this effort and they are aware that protecting the environment also helps to maintain income.
He added that the measures taken to protect hydropower plants from the storm worked well in hurricane Idai because they were basically intact. (
Reports from Charles Pensulo;
Edited by Megan Rowling.
Please thank the Thomson Reuters Foundation, a Thomson Reuters charity that covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women\'s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit )
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