Malawi and Mozambique – Death Toll Rises After Widespread Flooding

The number of people killed in heavy rains and flooding in southern Malawi has risen to 30, while the number of people affected is now approaching 500,000 with an estimated 30,000 of them displaced.

Meanwhile the same weather system has also caused flooding in regions of Mozambique, where over 30,000 people have been affected and 7 deaths reported. Mozambique is now facing the impact of Tropical Cyclone Idai which formed over the Northern Mozambique Channel on 09 March, 2019.

Flooding of the Shire River in Southern Region of Malawi, March 2019. Photo: Government of Malawi


Flooding has affected areas of Southern Region in since 06 March after Heavy rains following the formation of a tropical disturbance over the Mozambique Channel.

Over the last few days the country’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has carried out damage assessments revealing that 30 people have died and 377 have been injured.

As of 10 March, a total of 93,730 households (approximately 468,650 people) have been affected and 6,341 households have been displaced (estimated 32,000 people).

In a report of 09 March, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that 13 districts have been affected: Chikhwawa, Thyolo, Mulanje, Zomba, Machinga, Chiradzulu, Balaka, Nsanje, Neno, Blantyre, Phalombe, Mwanza, all in Southern Region, and the district of Dezda in Central Region.

OCHA said that Nsanje (more than 44,500 people affected) and Phalombe (25,000 people affected) are the hardest hit.

DoDMA said it is continuing to provide and coordinate search and rescue operations as well as the provision of relief assistance to the affected people. Malawi’s President declared a state of disaster in the region on 08 March, 2019.


According to a report by the United Nations Office of the Resident Coordinator in Mozambique dated 09 March, central and northern regions of Mozambique were also hit by heavy rainfall and flooding, with some districts recording 140-180 mm of rain in 24 hours. Local media reported  that 8 districts of Tete province saw heavy rain and storms from 05 March.

According to Ogimet data,Ulongué in Angónia District, situated in the north east part of the Tete Province, recorded 310mm of rain in 24 hours to 08 March, 2019.

The UN says that 32,222 people have been now been affected by floods in Zambézia and Tete provinces, with 4,242 people displaced and staying in 8 relief camps. Seven deaths have also been reported. Water supply system in Chingodzi (Tete) has been interrupted and heavy rain has severely damaged road infrastructure in Zambézia province, affecting transport and access to affected areas.

The UN Office of the Resident Coordinator said that the “Zambeze river basin is at its maximum alert and propagation of the flood wave to the lower Zambeze is expected”.

Tropical Cyclone Idai

The country is now facing the impact of severe winds from Tropical Cyclone Idai which formed over the Northern Mozambique Channel on 09 March, 2019.

Idai is expected to evolve to a Category 4 tropical cyclone making landfall south of Zambezia and north of Sofala provinces between 12 and 13 March with sustained wind speeds of over 200 km/h.

The storm is likely to influence the weather conditions in Zambezia. Sofala, Tete and Manica provinces.

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