The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (MET) has warned of possible floods in the Central and Northern regions due to tropical cyclone Jobo emerging from Tanzania.
In a statement on Saturday signed by MET director Jolam Nkhokwe, the tropical Cyclone is also expected to trigger heavy rains and strong winds in the two regions and other lakeshore areas.
Reads the statement in part: “Following the landfall of tropical Cyclone Jobo over Tanzania, there is high likelihood of locally heavy rains and strong winds to be triggered over Northern and Central Malawi, particularly along lakeshore areas.
“ This is due to strengthening of the Inter- Tropical Convergence Zone currently lying over Tanzania but extending its influence into Malawi. The locally heavy rainfall is likely to cause localised flooding in low-lying areas, while strong winds are likely to be felt over Lake Malawi.”
However, MET is closely monitoring movements of the cyclone and it will be providing updates on its weather influence in the country, according to the statement.
Meanwhile, t h e department has urged people to avoid crossing flooded rivers, roads and bridges move from flood-prone areas to high grounds, follow weather updates in the media and not to allow children to be close to streams, storm drains or other flooded areas.
A tropical cyclone is an intense tropical storm that forms over warm tropical oceans near the equator generally characterised by low atmospheric pressure, strong winds, heavy rainfall and large storms at landfall.
In an earlier interview with The Nation, Department of Disaster Management Affairs spokesperson Chipiliro Khamula said the department made preparations for any disasters that may befall the country this year.
“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 and 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,” he said.
According to the 2020 World Disaster Report by International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Malawi was rated as a highly vulnerable and fragile country, adding that in 2019 it was the worst hit after Iran.
In 2019, floods affected an estimated 975 588 people, displacing over 90 000 and killing 60 in the country with the most affected districts being Chikwawa and Nsanje in the Lower Shire Valley.
In 2015, Malawi also registered what was rated 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.