Incessant rains this week have left families in pain following flooding that has washed away crop fields, roads and destroyed buildings, and left a 20-month old dead and four others missing.
Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi yesterday said nine districts of Blantyre, Thyolo, Mulanje, Phalombe, Salima, Nkhotakota, Karonga, Mangochi and Zomba were the most affected.
In Blantyre’s Bangwe Township, sounds of falling house walls have been the order of the day since the rains started on Sunday evening, but the Falinya family on Wednesday night experienced the worst as their 20-month old daughter, Josephine, was pronounced dead yesterday morning after a wall fell on her while she slept.
Awakened by the sound of the falling wall around midnight, neighbours rushed to the house only to find two of the five occupants unconscious.
Speaking in an interview at the scene, Andrew Falinya said his wife and daughter were rushed to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (Qech) immediately after being rescued, but Josephine was pronounced dead on arrival. He said his wife was treated and discharged few hours later.
“I was at work when I got the news that my wife and daughter had been injured by a falling wall and were rushed to Queens. Minutes later, I received the news that my one year-and- eight months old daughter Josephine was pronounced dead,” said the visibly heartbroken Falinya, who works as a security guard in BCA Hill.
In Chikwawa, district commissioner (DC) Lusizi Nhlane said the area of group village head Mpama in Traditional Authority (T/A) Makhwira was the worst hit following the flooding of Mpama Stream which led to destruction of several houses. He said a mother and her daughter are reported missing.
Nhlane said by 4am yesterday, the raging Shire River flooded over the Kamuzu Bridge, but the water levels receded hours later.
He said 4 850 households in Chikwawa have been affected and most of them are living in camps where they are getting relief assistance from government through the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) response and partners such as World Vision and the Malawi Red Cross Society.
Nsanje District Council spokesperson Martin Chiwanda said the area of T/A Mlolo in the East Bank of Shire River is now impassable. He said people were relocating to evacuation centres such as schools and churches.
Briefing journalists at Parliament Building in Lilongwe before presenting his report on disasters affecting the country, Dausi said government was already deploying Malawi Defence Force (MDF) helicopters and rescue boats to Nsanje.
On Tuesday, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (MET) warned of continued severe weather in parts of the Southern and Central regions which are being battered by heavy rains and strong winds. n