Malawi – Deadly Floods in Southern Region

Heavy rains in southern and central parts of Malawi have caused flooding and rivers to overflow, in particular the Shire River in Chikwawa, where local media say 6 people have died.

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

The government of Malawi said in a statement of 07 March, that “Thousands of people have been displaced and a good number of people reported missing and others feared dead in the southern part of Malawi due to a heavy downfall of rain that started on 05 March, 2019. Malawi Red Cross volunteers and staff have embarked on search and rescue.”

Floods have rendered the Kamuzu and Mwanza bridges on the Shire River in Chikwawa impassable.

Quoting local police, Malawi 24 reported that several people had died in areas around Chikwawa after being swept away by flood waters from swollen rivers. Police are urging the public not to cross swollen rivers but rather wait for such rivers to recede before resuming their crossings. One person died when heavy rain caused a house to collapse in Thyolo.

Malawi’s Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services issued a severe weather warning on 05 March. Chileka, situated about 40 km north east of Chikwawa, recorded 160mm of rain in 24 hours to 07 March.

On 07 March the government warned “as the rains keep on falling nonstop, the Shire River also keeps swelling. All people are advised to take care and move to safer places. Government agencies are keenly monitoring the situation across the country and providing help where required.”

Flooded Mwanza bridge in Chikwawa, Malawi, March 2019. Photo: Government of Malawi

Severe flooding affected Central and Southern Regions of the country in February this year.