The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) has said natural disasters have killed 14 people since the onset of the rainy season last October.
Out of the 14 deaths, seven happened in Lilongwe, three in Dedza, two in Nkhotakota and one each in Machinga and Zomba, according to Dodma commissioner Clement Chinthu Phiri.
Briefing journalists on the status of disaster risk management for 2017/18 in Lilongwe yesterday, he said the disasters have injured 88 people as of January 9 2018.
Cumulatively, Phiri said 8 671 households, approximately 47 691 people, have been affected.
He said: “We have been overwhelmed with the disasters, but we are doing all we can to reach out to the affected people. Since October, 14 lives have been lost due to disasters which range from floods to hailstorms and have struck in 22 local authorities of the country.
“The impact of the disasters include loss of lives, injuries, damage to houses and property as well as destruction of crop fields and infrastructure.”
Phiri said in the Central Region, disasters have hit Mchinji, Lilongwe, Dedza, Dowa, Ntcheu, Salima, Kasungu and Nkhotakota.
In the Southern Region, Mulanje, Mwanza, Phalombe, Machinga, Mangochi, Chiradzulu and Zomba have been affected while in the Northern Region four districts—Chitipa, Karonga, Rumphi and Nkhata Bay—have been affected.
Lilongwe and Mzuzu cities have also been affected as is Kasungu Municipality.
Said Phiri: “So far, 8 110 households have been reached with assistance. The department is making arrangements to provide assistance to the remaining areas. In terms of preparing for looming disasters, the department is prepositioning and stockpiling relief items in strategic places.”
He announced that plans are at an advanced stage to preposition search and rescue personnel and equipment with the assistance of the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) and the Malawi Police Service (MPS).
Director of disaster risk reduction James Chiusiwa said in an interview that for responses to disaster to be hastened there was need for the department to have its own vote in the budget.
Currently, each affected family gets a 50 kilogramme bag of maize, four cups, five plates, salt, two blankets and plastic sheets to help them cope. n