Over 596 households have been affected by floods in Chikwawa and Nsanje following incessant heavy downpours that have hit the Shire Valley districts for the past three days.
The most affected areas in Chikwawa are in Senior Chief Ngabu and Paramount Chief Lundu in Chikwawa Central Constituency where about 186 houses have been affected.
In Nsanje, 400 households in traditional authorities (T/A) Ndamela and Chimombo have been affected by floods that have swept away 40 hectares of farmland and rendered 11 families homeless.
In an interview yesterday, Chikwawa District Council chairperson Alex Kamoto confirmed that about 186 houses have been affected by floods in the district which started on Saturday morning, but he could not give the extent of the damage.
He said: “Sekeni and Thom villages in Paramount Chief Lundu’s area and Nkhwazi Village in Senior Chief Ngabu are areas heavily affected with 186 houses affected. As we are talking now, we are on the ground making further assessments to establish the exact number of affected households.”
In a separate interview, Nsanje District Council information officer Martin Chiwanda, who is also council’s spokesperson, said the floods occurred on Thursday due to flooded Nyachilenda River which affected 400 households.
He said the council has since provided 11 families with tents as their houses were heavily damaged.
Said Chiwanda: “Eleven families were rendered homeless, but the council swiftly responded to the disasters and distributed tents. No one was injured.”
Two weeks ago, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (MET) warned the public to brace for heavy rains that would trigger floods in low-lying and flood-prone areas.
The warning followed persistent heavy rainfall which damaged houses and infrastructure in Lilongwe. The rainfall led to floods and displaced some families in Mchesi, Chipasula, Mgona and Area 25 in the capital city.
On January 6, floods also affected 137 households and destroyed 64 hectares of maize, soya beans and sunflower fields across Kameme lowlands in Chitipa.
Last year, over 196 000 people were displaced and at least 56 were killed in 17 districts following heavy floods.
The most affected were Shire Valley districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje.
The Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development allocated K1.2 billion to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) for disaster management. Attempts to get a comment from Dodma proved futile as their phones went unanswered.