Malawi faces cyclon Funso, as floods displace 450 families

About 448 households have been displaced, face possible starvation and are at risk of catching waterborne diseases due to heavy flooding that has wrecked houses and crops since last week in Nsanje.

According to Nsanje District Commissioner (DC) Rodney Simwaka, the flooding that originated from Shire, Nyamalikombe and Thangazi rivers has hit mainly Bangula and Phokela completely demolishing 323 houses while filling 125 other houses up to the height of several metres.

“About 323 houses have completely destroyed while 125 houses had been filled with flooding water,” the DC told Daily Times newspaper.

The DC said the people who have been rendered destitute have sought refuge at relatives’ houses while others have sought shelter in nearby schools, a development which he says affects the education of the area as schools are at times forced to close for being overwhelmed.

“In most cases, the people find shelter at relatives’ houses while some stay in school classrooms. But now, the school calendar is in progress which is a disturbance to students,” Simwaka said.

He also highlighted the area faces hunger as crops have been washed away and also sounded an SOS to health facilities since about 550 toilets have been washed away raising the risk of people catching waterborne diseases such as cholera.

“There is also crop damage and 550 toilets have been washed away and these are serious issues as people are vulnerable to diseases like cholera,” he said.

He said he is compiling a report of the disaster to be submitted to government’s Department of Disaster Management and NGOs for assistance and said the report would be ready in two days.

According to the DC, an NGO Partners in Hope has been distributing rice to 120 households that have been affected by the floods.

Warning

Meanwhile, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) has warned that a tropical cyclone called FUNSO in the Mozambique Channel is gradually moving south south eastwards and is located at Latitude 18.1 Degrees South and Longitude 39.3 Degrees East as at 06:00 hours on January 23 2012, about 469 km from Nsanje Boma.

FUNSO is expected to remain in the Mozambique Channel. At this position Congo Air mass will continue causing rainfall over northern half of Malawi while unstable moist air from the Indian Ocean will maintain torrential rains and trigger flooding in flood prone areas mainly over southern half of Malawi, says DCCMS.

“The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) will continue to warn the general public of heavy rainfall and strong winds associated with Tropical Cyclone FUNSO.

“The Department is closely monitoring the movement and intensity of the Tropical Cyclone and updates will be issued regularly ,” reads a statement signed by Meteorologist Charles Chiwaya on behalf acting Director of Climate Change and Meteorological Services, Yobu Chiwanda and made available to Nyasa Times on Monday.

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