The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has warned of floods in parts of the Southern Region from December 30.
In a statement signed by director of climate change and meteorological services Jolamu Nkhokwe, the department said tropical storm Chalane that has formed in eastern Madagascar in the Indian Ocean will cause heavy rains in the Southern Region of Malawi.
“The tropical cyclone Chalane is expected to make a landfall in Mozambique at Quilimane, a town north of Beira on Wednesday, 30th December 2020, and expected to proceed and reach southern Malawi on the same day, where it is likely to be accompanied by strong winds and likely to cause flooding due to continuous rainfall,” reads the statement.
In an interview yesterday, Nkhokwe said the department will continue updating Malawians on tropical cyclone Chalane.He said: “Other models are also indicating that the tropical cyclone Chalane might also reach the Central Region of Malawi. But there is also a possibility that it may change direction before reaching the country.”
Reacting to the warning, Department of Disaster Management Af f a i r s (Dodma) spokesperson Chipiliro Khamula said in an interview that Dodma is ready for any disasters, adding that it has enhanced awareness on floods and lightning.
He s a i d most o f the 2020/21 rains are accompanied by lightning which has since killed 24 people out of the 28 deaths linked to rains this season.
Said Khamula: “We developed what we call national contingency plans to look into all the disasters the country may face and how best we can respond to them.
“We also made a standby arrangement for search and rescue operations with the Malawi DefenCe Force [MDF] and the Malawi Police Service. So, in the event that there is flooding and there is need for people to be rescued, we should be able to deploy them [MDF and police] on time.”
The 2020 World Disaster Report by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies rated Malawi as a highly vulnerable and fragile country, stating that in 2019 it was the second worst hit after Iran.
Last year, floods affected an estimated 975 588 people, displacing over 90 000 and killing 60 in the country. The most affected districts were Chikwawa and Nsanje in the Lower Shire Valley.
In 2015, Malawi registered what was rated as the worst disaster in two decades as an estimated 1 101 364 people were affected, 230 000 of them displaced, 106 killed and 172 reported missing.