Tropical Cyclone Ana’s effects to take longer for affected communities to heal and get back to normal

The Department of Disaster and Management Affairs (DoDMA) says the livelihood of people whose areas were affected by Tropical Storm Ana that which caused floods in many parts of the country, will take a long time to get back to normal.

At a press briefing held on Tuesday in Blantyre, DoDMA’s Commissioner Charles Kalemba said in conjunction with other government department as well as the private sector organizations, they are doing everything possible in assisting people whose properties have been damaged.

Kalemba during the press briefing

He said chances are still very high that the people livelihood will take time to get back to normal because the floods damaged a lot of properties — which will need huge amount of money to be compensated for.

He added that many areas, especially the hardest hit Lower Shire districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje, experienced damaged electricity power lines which is affecting health service deliveries in hospitals.

Kalemba was accompanied by some stakeholders

He also said some main roads have damaged denying people access to other places they do businesses and other activities.

“The impact of the floods is too big but as DoDMA we are not sleeping day and night as we are trying to reach out to the affected people and provide them some support.

“We are very happy that since the floods occurred, we’ve seen a number of organizations like Malawi Defence Force (MDF), Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM), Malawi Police Services, Roads Authority, Malawi Red Cross Society — who assisted in search and rescue mission — providing relief food, tents and other important non food items,” he said.

He disclosed that as of Tuesday, a total of 33 people have been conformed as dead with 158 being injured and 20 reportedly missing whereas with over 200,000 families affected.

According to a DoDMA report, 122,000 people have sought refuge in camps and Kalemba urged more well-wishers to come in and support the affected people.

When President Lazarus Chakwera toured the flood-affected areas of the Lower Shire on Monday, expressed concern over the extent of damage Cyclone Ana caused to lives, infrastructure, crops and animals in the two districts.

“What I have seen is very devastating, even the strongest roads have been cut off due to the heavy rains,” he told people at Thabwa Primary School. “I understand that even people who had moved to the upper lands were equally affected as the water reached them and destroyed their homes.”

The President, however, said he was happy to see that the Ministry of Transport and Public Works was working around the clock to create a temporally passage so that by Tuesday, trucks should be able to pass and deliver relief items to the affected areas.

“After all this over, there is need to reconstruct the roads and even reconstruct people’s houses that were washed away by these floods,” he said.

Chakwera also appealed to well-wishers to join partners like Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS), who are already on the ground to assist the affected people with food and shelter.

Speaking on behalf of Parliamentarians in the Lower Shire, Salim Bagus said there is looming hunger since crops were washed away by the floods and he  appealed to the President to help with fertilizer and seed so that people can replant crops.

Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba said it had been difficult to provide relief items to the affected people especially Nsanje due to the road cut-off.

He expressed gratitude to government for making available two more helicopters which are being used to transfer patients, blood and medicines to hospitals.

According to Kalemba, five huge ESCOM poles that provide over 120 megawatts of electricity were affected but as of Monday, the electricity supply body has managed to re-stall about 32 megawatts to cover hospitals and essential government offices.

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