Malawi has been hit by a fresh wave of flooding as the country is still not recovered from an earlier spate of devastating flood with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) saying more than 300,000 people have been displaced , almost twice as many as previously estimated.
Government officials confirmed that heavy rainfall has caused fresh flooding in Chikwawa and Nsanje in the southern region where deadly floods in January affected more than 1 million people, killed 276 and injured more than 600, according to new figures released by the U.N. Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) unit.
Alex Mdooko, commissioner of Chikwawa, a district in Malawi’s southern region, said they authorities are yet to assess the extent of the damage after heavy downpours over the past 24 hours.
“We have had two nights of rain and, so far, vast pieces of land are in water again,” he said, adding “The Shire River has taken in more water to overflow again.”
Meanwhile, Mahimbo Mdoe, UNICEF’s country representative in Malawi said there is need to “take stock of our response to ensure all children and families have access to emergency services and supplies.”
She said:”We are carefully monitoring how displaced children are faring, as we know after one month in crowded camps, disease outbreaks and increased malnutrition can occur.”
The floods have disrupted education for more than 300,000 students, as many schools have been occupied by displaced families.
UNICEF is supporting schools to reopen so that children in the camps and those in host communities can continue their education, said Mdoe.
“To ensure schools can continue to house families, and function as schools, UNICEF has provided school tents and supplies to set up temporary learning spaces during daytime, and accommodation for families during the night.”
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest and most densely populated countries, and about 85 percent of its 17.5 million population are farmers living in rural areas.