The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) says about 12 529 people, representing 2 278 households, have been rendered homeless nationwide following damage to their houses in eight districts since October 12 this year.
Responding to an enquiry from The Nation on the extent of damage caused by rains and heavy winds to date, Dodma said one person died in Mchinji after a wall collapsed on him and 16 others were injured.
In an interview on Wednesday, Dodma public relations officer Chipiliro Khamula said rainstorms and windstorms caused damage in the eight of the country’s 28 districts, namely Chitipa and Rumphi in the Northern Region; Dowa, Mchinji, Lilongwe and Ntcheu in the Central Region; and, Mulanje and Phalombe in the Southern Region.
He said: “Since October 12 2017, disasters which include stormy rains and strong winds, have struck eight districts in the country. As at 15th November 2017, a cumulative total of 2 278 households [approximately 12 529 people] have been affected by disasters.
“The impact includes damage to dwelling houses, household property, infrastructure, human injuries and loss of life.”
Khamula said Dodma is stockpiling relief items in strategic places and has rescue equipment, including vehicles, boats and helicopters to provide swift reaction to disasters.
Dodma will use part of the K1.2 billion it was allocated for disaster response operations in the 2017/18 National Budget.
On Tuesday this week, Phalombe was the latest to be hit by disasters after 174 households in the traditional authorities (T/As) Kaduya, Nkhulambe and Genala were displaced following the strong winds which damaged their houses.
Yesterday, Mulanje district commissioner (DC) Reinghard Kaweta-Chavula said over 3 000 households in T/As Mabuka, Mthiramanja and Chikumbu in the district were displaced.
She said: “Initially, about 1 500 household were affected, but on Tuesday some parts of the district experienced a heavy downpour that affected other households, and I am sure the affected households will exceed 3 000.”
In Mchinji, acting district disaster management officer Chisomo Kuchepa said over 479 households have been displaced. He said the figure is likely to rise because the office yesterday received a report of another disaster.
In Phalombe, district disaster and risk management officer Davie Chibani appealed to well-wishers to assist the affected 174 households with relief items which include food, tents and blankets, among other things.
In Ntcheu, over 360 households were displaced in T/As Njolomole, Ganya and Makwangwala while in Dowa 23 households have also been displaced, according to Ntcheu DC Smart Gwedemula and Dowa DC Fanny Msimuko, respectively.
Efforts to speak to officials in Chitipa, Lilongwe and Rumphi proved futile as their phones were not answered.
Last week, Vice -President Saulos Chilima, who is also Minister responsible for Dodma, said his ministry is set to handle any disaster in the 2017/18 season. He said this when he received drones from the Chinese government
The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has forecast that many parts of the country will this week continue experiencing heavy rains accompanied by strong winds. n