At least 19 people have died in the devastating Tropical Storm Ana in eight districts in the Southern Region.
Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) reported that as of Wednesday, three deaths were recorded in Neno, two each in Mulanje and Blantyre City, one each in Blantyre District and Mwanza.
Chikwawa recorded 10 deaths according to district commissioner Ali Phiri, bringing the total to 19.
The department said it received rapid assessment reports on Ana-induced disasters from Nsanje, Chikwawa, Dedza, Mwanza, Zomba, Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Machinga, Balaka, Neno, Ntcheu and Mchinji.
According to Dodma, currently, a total of 48 216 households, approximately 216 972 people, have been affected. 107 injuries have been confirmed, 44 in Blantyre City, Mulanje 32, Neno 13, Machinga 10, Mwanza 5 and two each in Blantyre District and Mchinji. Chikwawa has recorded the highest number of affected households, with 10 159 displaced and living in 44 camps set in the district.
Phiri said most of the roads are still impassable making it difficult to reach some camps.
“Currently, we are having difficulties reaching the camps as most of the roads are impassable. Kamuzu Bridge has been cut-off and the whole East Bank has been disconnected.
“A section of the Chapananga Bridge was washed away and a section of the M1 at Nchalo has been cut off,” Phiri said.
He said even though the storm is over and the rains have stopped, most rivers and low-lying areas are heavily flooded.
Mulanje district commissioner Stallich Mwambiwa said the number of deaths is at two while 32 people have been injured.
He said 3 397 households have been affected in seven of the nine traditional authorities they have conducted preliminary assessments.
Mwambiwa said: “The weather is slowly retuning to normal, but the situation is dire. People need assistance in terms of food, tents, blankets, nets, torches and kitchen utensils, among others.”
The Department of Disaster and Management Affairs commissioner Charles Kalemba on Tuesday said the most affected are southern districts of Chikwawa, Nsanje, Zomba, Mulanje and Phalombe.
“The department has deployed a search and rescue team comprising the Malawi Defence Force, Malawi Police Service, the Department of Marine and the Malawi Red Cross Society to assist in rescuing people feared to be trapped,” he said in a statement.
Malawi is one of the developing countries bearing the brunt of climate change, which has made weather-related disasters more frequent and devastating, dialling up calls to invest in reducing the occurrence and severity of these shocks than relief services.
When Cyclone Ida hit in March 2019 about 900 000 people in the country were affected with 59 people killed, 672 injured and about 90 000 households displaced.
Tropical Storm Ana landed in Mozambique on Sunday night causing non-stop rains and heavy winds.
Mozambique’s National Institute for Management and Disaster Risk Reduction said on Tuesday that eight people had died, 54 had been injured and 895 evacuated in the prior 24 hours.
More than 20 000 people in Mozambique have been affected by the storm, with more than 3 000 homes partially destroyed and over 600 destroyed along with several health centres and dozens of classrooms, the institute said.
It added that drones and boats had been deployed in relief efforts.
In Madagascar, which also experienced the storm, as of yesterday (Wednesday), the country registered 34 fatalities, 35 260 people were evacuated.