Floods displace thousands across Malawi

Thousands of people in Malawi have been cut off from normal life after heavy rains that have been falling over the last few days led to localized flooding.

Among the most affected districts include Nsanje, Blantyre and Nkhata bay where heavy rainstorms and floods have ravaged houses and other infrastructures.

In Nsanje district, heavy rains experienced in the area has left thousands of villagers stranded in the area of TA Kalolo forcing authorities to send an SOS to government for a helicopter to evacuate the trapped people.

In distress: Family left homeless after floods

Nsanje District Commissioner (DC) Rodney Simwaka said officials from his office were in the area assessing the extent of the disaster “but thousands of families have been trapped and displaced from their homes which have been destroyed” following the heavy rains that hit the area on Sunday.

“The most affected Group Village Headmen include Kalonga, Osiyana, Sambani and Musasa. The situation is bad because the process of evacuating the people is slow.

“Right now people are using locally made canoes to move out some of those who have been trapped to higher grounds. Hundreds of others are standing on small islands that have been created,” a depressed Simwaka said Monday afternoon.

The DC said, meanwhile, the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) has agreed to release a helicopter to airlift the stranded villagers to higher grounds.

“We will keep on monitoring the situation and we just hope that the water levels will not increase during the night,” he said.

He said the displaced people are in dire need of food parcels, blankets, tents and kitchen wares because all their property has been washed away adding that his office in conjunction with other
stakeholders were still verifying the numbers and the cost of the damage while health officials are monitoring the situation for possible outbreaks of waterborne diseases.

Some of the people who have been evacuated are being sheltered in school blocks while churches while others are being accommodated by friends and well wishers.

The incident comes barely two days after several houses were also reported wrecked in the area of TA Mbenje with hundreds of villagers rendered homeless.

The rains also cut the district from the rest of the country after the running wares also washed away a 6km stretch of the Nsanje-Bangula road at a place called Phokera.

In Blantyre, the District Commissioner Charles Makanga confirmed that over 60 houses have been destroyed by persistent downpour that has been falling since Friday last week.

He said the incident happened in 36 villages of TA Somba where five people were also rushed to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital where they were treated as outpatients after walls of their houses fell on them.
“As of the exact number of people who have been affected we can’t really say because reports are still coming in,” said Makanga.

The houses fell down on Sunday afternoon and Monday.

However, this reporter also saw over 10 houses on Monday afternoon that were damaged by the rains in Mbayani Township.

Eye witnesses told Nyasa Times more houses had been knocked down particularly in Lower part of the township where this reporter did not reach.

In the northern district of Nkhata Bay, 330 families are homeless after hailstorm demolished their houses.

District Commissioner Michael Chimbalanga said 10 people were injured in after their houses’ walls fell on them but were all treated as outpatients.

He said the persistent hailstorm which started on Friday through to Sunday has also affected education as learning blocks for five primary schools have also been wrecked together with a health center in the area, north of the district.

The incident in the district also comes a few days after 78 houses were knocked down by heavy rains in southern part of the district.

Last week, the rains also displaced scores of people in the tobacco growing central Malawi district of Kasungu.

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