Malawi – 4 Dead After Cyclone Gombe Causes Floods in South

Disaster authorities in Malawi report that at least 4 people have died as a result of heavy rain brought by Cyclone Gombe.

Bridge destroyed in Malawi after flooding from Cyclone Gombe, March 2022. Photo: Malawi Red Cross

Authorities issued warnings for the districts of Mulanje, Nsanje, Chikwawa, Phalombe, Zomba, Machinga, Thyolo, Chiradzulu, Blantyre and Mangochi. Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) urged people living in flood-prone areas to move upland and to avoid crossing flooded rivers.

Cyclone Gombe brought heavy rains of more than 100 mm in 24 hours, flooding areas in Southern Region including Chikwawa, Mulanje and Nsanje where roads are blocked causing severe disruption to transport.

DoDMA also reported that heavy rain and floods caused damage to a camp housing people previously displaced by floods brought by Tropical Strom Anna in late January this year.

As of 13 March, DoDMA reported 3 flood- or rain-related fatalities in Machinga district and a fourth in Mangochi district.

Malawi Red Cross Society said via Social Media, “Some families have been rendered destitute after the Cyclone Gombe affected some districts with devastating scenes in Nsanje, Chikwawa, Phalombe, Mulanje and Machinga.”

Mozambique and Madagascar

Previously Cyclone Gombe caused severe wind and flood damage in Mozambique after making landfall on 11 March 2022. In an update report of 14 March, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said 100,441 people have been affected in Nampula and Zambezia provinces, 50 people have been injured and 15 have lost their lives. OCHA added that the Cyclone has displaced 11,629 people, who are currently hosted in temporary accommodation centres. Gombe also completely destroyed 11,882 houses and severely damaged 16 health centres, 346 classrooms (affecting 14,775 students), 141 electricity poles, and 130km of roads.

Before making landfall in Mozambique, Cyclone Gombe passed over northern Madagascar from 08 March as a moderate tropical storm. Disaster authorities reported 1 storm-related fatality in Antsohihy district, Sofia region, and a total of 935 people affected (248 households) affected in the three regions of Analanjirofo, Sava and Sofia. Around 300 homes were damaged or destroyed, along with school buildings, roads and a bridge.