Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has warned about the likelihood of floods in low-lying flood-prone areas in the Central and Southern regions.
In a statement issued yesterday and made available to The Nation, areas likely to be affected include lower reaches of Shire, Ruo and Mwanza rivers in the Shire Valley; Domasi, Thondwe and Likangala rivers in Zomba District; Phalombe River in Phalombe and rivers in the lakeshore districts of Nkhotakota, Salima, Mangochi and Dedza (especially Mtakataka area) and Luvulezi-Bwanje Valley in Ntcheu District.
The ministry said the warning has come in the wake of a latest weather forecast update issued on January 25 2016 by the Department of Climate Change and Meterological Services.
In the statement, the ministry’s chief director Sandram Maweru said: “Latest five-day weather forecast from the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services issued on 25th January 2016 indicates that there will be enhanced rainfall over the Centre and the South on Tuesday and thereafter widespread and heavy rains during the next few days.”
In the wake of the forecast, the ministry is advising the public and people living around and along the mentioned rivers to be on guard and not to drive or walk through flooded areas.
Late last month, President Peter Mutharika also appealed to people living in flood-prone areas to urgently relocate upland with the encouragement and support of local leaders—chiefs, politicians and the clergy—as well as non-governmental organisations operating in the areas concerned.
In January 2015, Malawi experienced the worst floods in recent years in 15 of the country’s 28 districts where it affected 1.1 million people, killing 106 and 172 people were reported missing. The floods also displaced 230 000 people, damaged people’s property and public infrastructure as well as 64 000 hectares of crop fields.
Malawi’s Post-Disaster Needs Assessment report shows that the country will need $494 million to fully recover and reconstruct from the damage. n