The El Nino weather phenomenon the country is currently experiencing is likely going to cause incessant rains from this week that may lead to flooding in some parts of the country.
A statement from the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (MET) released on Sunday and signed by director Jolamu Nkhokwe indicates that by end of this week, Southern areas of the country are likely to experience scattered rains which will be locally heavy over highlands due to the oscillation of Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).
Reads the statement in part: “The expected rainfall events will cause localised disruption of outdoor activities with heavy rainfall episodes, causing flooding in flood-prone areas, particularly those heavily silted due to environmental degradation in combination with poor drainage systems.”
A number of districts, including Mwanza, Mangochi, Nsanje and Lilongwe, have already been affected by flooding since the beginning of the year.
The department has, therefore, advised people to take preventive measures to avoid loss of life and property.
Although El Nino is a regional phenomenon, environmental experts have said the country should step up efforts to replace lost vegetative cover, including replanting of trees and conservation of other natural resources.
In the statement, Nkhokwe urged people to refrain from crossing swollen rivers, urging the public to stay indoors and avoid playing on an open ground or seeking shelters under trees, among other things.
Department of Disaster Preparedness and Management Affairs (Dodma) under the Ministry of Homeland Security has been instrumental in coordinating relief efforts towards people who have been affected by floods and other climatic hazards.
Dodma spokesperson Chipiliro Khamula said in an interview yesterday the department has stepped up efforts to ensure that its disaster response was swift.
He said: “As a government agency responsible for the coordination of disaster response, we have ensured that all standby equipment and personnel are strategically positioned to ensure that we respond to any call in real time.”
Khamula said Dodma has stockpiled relief items at its main warehouse in Ntcheu and others in Blantyre and Karonga.
Dodma, with support from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has established evacuation centres in flood-prone districts of Mangochi, Nsanje, Salima, Karonga and Chikwawa. n