The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (MET) says Malawi is expected to experience a good rainfall pattern in the coming season, but warned about the possibility of floods due to climate change.
Speaking when he issued a rainfall outlook for the 2021/22 rainfall season at a press conference in Blantyre yesterday, MET director Jolam Nkhokwe said that apart from the floods, some areas were also expected to experience dry spells.
He said: “The forecast implies that during the 2021/22 rainfall season, there is a high chance of many parts of the country receiving good rainfall amounts.
“However, extreme weather events such as heavy rains leading to floods are likely to occur in prone areas while some parts of the country may experience pockets of prolonged dry spells during the season.”
While pointing out that warnings and advisories on extreme weather conditions, including tropical cyclones, would be issued during the season, Nkhokwe stressed that climate change has largely contributed to more occurrence of such extreme weather.
In Malawi, the rainfall season is projected to start in October 2021 and end in April 2022.
Nkhokwe said that from October to December this year, there will be normal to above normal rainfall in most areas across the country while some parts of the Southern Region are expected to experience normal to below normal rainfall.
He said that for the period covering January to March 2022, most areas across the country are expected to experience normal to above normal rainfall while some parts in the Northern Region are expected to experience normal to below normal rainfall.
Pre-season rains are experienced at the beginning of the season which sometimes merges with the main rains.
In a separate telephone interview, Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) spokesperson Chipiliro Khamula said the department is prepared to handle any disasters that may befall the country during the season.
He said: “We have constructed evacuation centres in flood-prone districts of Mangochi, Balaka, Zomba, Chikwawa and Phalombe.
“These are decent centres and the department is committed to ensuring that people’s dignity should be maintained in times of disasters and that we minimise situations in which lessons are disturbed because classroom blocks have been turned into camps.”
Khamula said Dodma also trained communities in managing the constructed evacuation centres, adding that the department is in the process of developing contingency plans.
He said the contingency plans are being done in consultation with councils across the country to guide the response in case of any emergency.
Khamula also said they have made standby arrangements with search and rescue teams comprising Malawi Defence Force, Malawi Police Service and other stakeholders where need arises.
Dodma has also been implementing a number of flood risk reduction works and as part of mitigating effects of climate change.
In recent years, Malawi and many countries across the globe are feeling the impact of climate change and continue to face frequent and intense droughts, storms, heat waves and rising sea levels.
Malawi’s funding to mitigate climate change over the years has been minimal. According to the 2020/21 National Budget allocation, the Ministry of Forestry and Natural Resources was allocated about K404 million.