Malawi – Floods in Central and Southern Regions Affect 2,000

Flooding in Malawi has affected over 2,000 people in parts of Central and Southern regions since 03 March, with more heavy rain a possibility over the coming days.

Floods in Malawi, March 2018. Photo: DoDMA

Chikwawa District, Southern Region

Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) said on Monday 05 March that flooding in Chikwawa District has affected 277 households ( approximately 1,500 people).

The flooding occurred after the Mwanza and Bwabwali Rivers burst their banks over the weekend 03 to 04 March.

DoDMA said that “a preliminary report indicates that 53 households have been completely damaged.”

Damage assessments are ongoing. Plans to dispatch relief items to the affected houses are at an advanced stage.

Ntandire Township, Lilongwe, Central Region

In Ntandire Township, Lilongwe, flooding destroyed 12 houses and affected 138 households, (approximately 638 people). The flooding occurred when the Lingadzi River burst its banks on Sunday 04 March, 2018.

DoDMA has provided relief items such as food, blankets and kitchen utensils.

Demolition of Ntandire Township Riverside Settlements Ordered

Vice President and Minister of Disaster Management Affairs Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima has ordered the demolition of settlements in and around river banks as one way of combating persistent floods that have led to deaths and loss of property.

Visiting flooded areas around Ntandire Township on 05 March, Chilma said it was high time authorities such as the City Council enforced by-laws to get rid of the perennial flooding.

“Environmental degradation is one of the factors leading to the flooding of the [Lingadzi] river, and this is being addressed through the planting of trees, but what we are seeing here are illegal developments. People are building houses in the river, these structures are not even on the river banks, they are right in the river.

“Water is failing to flow in its natural course leading to the flooding. I was talking to the representative of the Lilongwe City Council. We have to demolish these [illegal] structures. Innocent people are suffering as a result of these selfish developments taking place here,” said Chilima, adding that it was high time the illegal settlers learnt their lessons.

Flood Warnings

Malawi’s Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services had warned of heavy rain across the country. In their forecast of 03 March the department said they “anticipate thunderstorms and heavy rain to persist over more areas of Malawi. This is due to Congo air mass influencing weather over Northern half of Malawi while unstable south easterlies are dominating the southern areas.”

The department warned that of localized flash floods “as heavy rain will continue over more areas in the next three days. Therefore, take precautions and stay safe”

Almost 100,000 Affected by Disasters in Last 6 Months

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) says since October last year, disasters have affected 17,585 households, which is approximately 96,000 people.

DoDMA’s Chief Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Fyawupi Mwafongo says the disasters, which include strong winds, heavy rains, flash floods, stormy rains, lightning and hailstorms among others, have struck 20 districts, two cities and municipal council in the country, leading to the death of 16 people and causing various degree of injuries to 97 persons, with thousands of houses and household property worth millions damaged.