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

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.

Mozambique

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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Flood Summary

Last updated: March 19, 2019
Event
Malawi and Mozambique, March 2019
Date
March 5, 2019
Type
River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall, Long-term rainfall
Heavy rain in Southern and Central parts of Malawi have caused flooding and rivers to overflow, in particular along the Shire and Phalombe rivers and tributaries. As of 13 March, 45 people had died, with almost 739,790 affected an around 15,185 households displaced.

Meanwhile the same weather system also caused flooding in regions of Mozambique from 05 March, where (as of 10 March) over 62,975 people have been affected and 10 deaths reported (later this increased to 15: four in Zambezia Province and 11 in Tete Province). Later reports suggested this figure was a high as 66. Mozambique is now facing the impact of Tropical Cyclone Idai which formed over the Northern Mozambique Channel on 09 March, 2019.

Locations

A - Chikwawa (Malawi)
B - Thyolo (Malawi)
C - Mulanje (Malawi)
D - Zomba (Malawi)
E - Machinga (Malawi)
F - Chiradzulu (Malawi)
G - Balaka (Malawi)
H - Nsanje (Malawi)
I - Neno (Malawi)
J - Blantyre (Malawi)
K - Phalombe (Malawi)
L - Mwanza (Malawi)
M - Dezda (Malawi)
N - Tete province (Mozambique)
O - Zambezia Province (Mozambique)
P - Niassa (Mozambique)
Q - Quelimane - Rainfall level 62 mm in 24 hours
R - Shire River at Chikwawa - River level overflowing metres
S - Chileka - Rainfall level 160.1 mm in 24 hours
T - Milange - Rainfall level 224 mm in 24 hours
U - Cuamba - Rainfall level 265 mm in 24 hours
V - Songo - Rainfall level 70 mm in 24 hours
W - Ulongue - Rainfall level 310 mm in 24 hours
X - Caia - Rainfall level 86 mm in 24 hours
Y - Pebane - Rainfall level 78 mm in 24 hours

Magnitude

Rainfall level
62 mm in 24 hours
Quelimane - March 4 to March 5, 2019
Ogimet figures
River level
Overflowing
Shire River at Chikwawa - March 6 to March 8, 2019
Rainfall level
160.1 mm in 24 hours
Chileka - March 6 to March 7, 2019
Ogimet figures
Rainfall level
224 mm in 24 hours
Milange - March 5 to March 6, 2019
Ogimet figures
Rainfall level
265 mm in 24 hours
Cuamba - March 6 to March 7, 2019
Ogimet figures
Rainfall level
70 mm in 24 hours
Songo - March 6 to March 7, 2019
Ogimet figures
Rainfall level
310 mm in 24 hours
Ulongue - March 7 to March 8, 2019
Ogimet figures
Rainfall level
86 mm in 24 hours
Caia - March 7 to March 8, 2019
Ogimet figures
Rainfall level
78 mm in 24 hours
Pebane - March 7 to March 8, 2019
Ogimet figures

Damages

Fatalities
30 people
Malawi - March 6 to March 10, 2019
Fatalities
66 people
Mozambique - March 5 to March 11, 2019
Evacuated
75,000
Malawi - March 6 to March 11, 2019
estimated figure. Malawi government reported 15,185 households displaced, mostly from Southern Region. 187 temporary camps have been set up by the Government of Malawi in the affected districts.
Evacuated
10,512
Mozambique - March 6 to March 11, 2019
Zambézia, Tete and Niassa provinces
Affected
62,975
Mozambique - March 6 to March 11, 2019
Zambézia, Tete and Niassa provinces
Affected
468,650
Malawi - March 6 to March 11, 2019
Malawi government reported 93,730 households displaced, mostly from Southern Region