About 8 000 households have been affected by floods that hit some parts of the country in the past seven days, with Chikwawa, Nsanje and Phalombe districts being hardest hit.
Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) statistics indicate that the number of affected households has increased from 1 943 between December 29 and January 17 to about 10 000 households as of Thursday January 24.
MRCS spokesperson Felix Washoni in an interview on Wednesday attributed the increase to floods that hit some parts of Chikwawa and Nsanje between Friday last week and Tuesday this week.
He said some areas like Makhanga and Nyachikadza in Nsanje are hard-to-reach as roads have been cut off and are accessible only by air and boats.
Said Washoni: “We have reached 7 000 now and by tomorrow [Thursday] we will be reaching about 10 000 households that have been affected by disasters countrywide, as we are still doing our assessment. Huge figures are coming from Nsanje and Chikwawa which have been terribly affected.”
Nsanje District Council information officer Martin Chiwanda in a separate interview said one person died in Tuesday’s floods that rendered 337 households homeless and seriously injured three people.
He said most of the displaced families are from Traditional Authority (T/A) Mulolo and the affected households have been relocated to Chikali Primary School and Makhanga Agricultural Residential Training Centre.
While in Chikwawa, 2 187 households in the areas of Paramount Lundu and T/A Ngabu have also been displaced.
According to Chikwawa district commissioner Ali Phiri, 1 998 displaced households are from Paramount Lundu while 189 are from group village head Matsukambiya in T/A Ngabu in the district.
He said the displaced households are being kept in schools and churches and the council was helping the survivors.
Said Phiri: “We have distributed blankets to the displaced families and we also sent a boat to evacuate people who were trapped in water.”
A Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) report indicates that as of January 22, 25 023 households, representing an estimated 125 115 people, have been affected by disasters in 25 local authorities since July 2019.
Dodma spokesperson Chipiliro Khamula said 33 of the affected people died while 175 people sustained various injuries.
Last year, over 196 000 people were displaced and at least 56 killed in 17 districts following heavy floods. The most affected were Shire Valley districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje. The Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development allocated about K1.2 billion to Dodma for disaster management in the 2019/20 National Budget.