Stormy rains that hit some districts from October 6 to 10 2020 destroyed 613 houses and left two people dead.
Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) spokesperson Chipiliro Khamula said in an interview the deaths occurred in Mchinji District, and that the department is conducting an assessment in Lilongwe and Salima where a storm was also reported.
According to a statement on Dodma website, 248 houses collapsed in Mchinji, 188 in Balaka, 108 in Mangochi and 69 in Mzimba.
Reads the report: “The common nature of damage in all the affected districts is collapsed walls and blown off roofs. The two casualties in Mchinji were due to lightning and a collapsed wall.”
Khamula said the department has already provided relief items to the victims in Mchinji and Balaka.
He said: “We have given each affected family 25 kilogrammes [kg] rice, four plastic plates, five plastic cups, 1kg salt, a 10-metre plastic sheet and a 20-litre plastic bucket.”
Heavy rains hit some districts of the country last week and some people have started preparing their fields, but agriculture experts have advised that people should not rush to plant until weather experts advise so.
Meanwhile, Nkhata Bay district relief and rehabilitation officer Taonga Kamanga said her office is assessing damaged property after strong winds damaged 90 houses in the district on Tuesday.
“We are currently conducting assessment of the damaged property to ensure that the affected families are assisted in time. We intend to submit a report to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs as soon as we establish the extent of the damage,” she said.
Nkhata Bay North West legislator Julius Chione asked government and well-wishers for a quick intervention to address the situation.
“The situation is very bad. As of now, some of the victims are sleeping in classrooms while others are staying with their relatives but several are still stranded,” he said.
A governance commentator Makhumbo Munthali said the damage caused by the first rains should act as a wake-up call to Dodma to prepare to respond to disasters which are common in the rainy season.
According to a press statement issued by the Department of Meteorological Services covering October 11 to 18 2020, the country will be experiencing hot to very hot weather coupled with stormy winds, showers and lightning.
The report which was issued on Sunday, further warns that people should be careful when using the lake as water will be rough during the period. n
Additional reporting by Mana