- 22 700 households affected
At least 22 700 households have been affected by stormy rains, strong winds and floods while over 132 people have been injured across the country since November last year, an official report has shown.
A Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) profile highlighting disasters registered from November 2 2016 to February 9 2017 in the 2016/2017 rainy season indicates that among the households affected, some had their houses and household property damaged, other houses had their roofs completely blown off while other houses were completely destroyed and people were displaced.
The disaster profile, which indicates that 22 of the country’s 28 districts have so far been affected, also shows that 498 hectares of crop fields, mainly maize and cassava, were washed away due to floods and stormy rains in several districts, including Ntcheu, Nkhata Bay and Mchinji and several school blocks, health centres, churches and mosques, among others, had their roofs blown off too.
The other affected districts include Balaka, Machinga, Dedza, Mzimba, Nkhotakota, Karonga, Neno, Lilongwe, Mangochi, Mulanje, Zomba, Salima, Chikwawa, Thyolo, Dowa, Nsanje, Mwanza, Phalombe and Rumphi.
According to the profile, the highest number of households affected was recorded in Zomba on January 31 2017 when stormy rains affected 1 930 households in the areas of chiefs Kuntumanji, Mlumbe, Nkapita and Chikowi.
“On December 26 2016, in the area of Traditional Authority Malengachanzi in Nkhotakota, stormy rains affected 383 households, blew off roofs for two classroom blocks at Chandiya Primary School, three churches and four mosques. Twenty six people, including children, were injured by collapsing walls.
“On January 20 2017, in the area of Traditional Authority Masasa in Ntcheu, floods affected 196 households, displaced 270 people and washed away 386 hectares of crop fields,” reads some parts of the profile Dodma communications officer Jeremiah Mphande made available to The Nation on Friday.
But speaking in an interview on Sunday, Mphande said in Salima, where 1 703 households have been affected and others completely displaced since last week, five camps where the affected households are seeking shelter have been set up.
“In Salima, there is a fear that the cases might rise because the disasters are still raging on. In Lilongwe, because the disaster was unprecedented, the Lilongwe City Council is still assessing the situation, but at the moment unofficial statistics indicated that about 400 households have been affected. At the moment, we do not have reports for the disasters that have happened in Dedza and Ntcheu recently,” said Mphande.
He also said the department is providing all the necessary and required assistance and it is using the stocks (food and non-food items) that were earlier prepositioned in its warehouses in various districts to respond to disasters.
“Government is assisting all affected households with needed items. For those that have been displaced and have nowhere to go, they are being housed in our evacuation centres. We are also providing all the necessary basic items such as food and water, sanitation and hygiene (Wash) services so that their lives should not be disturbed,” said Mphande.
Meanwhile, humanitarian organisation Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) has said it has since helped the affected people in Salima with tents and its volunteers are still on the ground.