Malawi Floods Leave Thousands Homeless

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At least 66 people have been killed in Mozambique, 45 in Malawi and four in South Africa following torrential rains that have triggered flash floods.At least 115 people have been killed in Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa after heavy rains affected 843,000 people across southeast Africa, officials and the UN as quoted  by Aljazeera.

“We just sleep on the floor in the tents,” said 28-year-old mother-of-five Mary Amidu who like thousands of other Malawians fled her flood-ravaged home. “It’s a camp, so the situation is dire. You just find a small space in the tent with your family and make it home.” Her village is just 10 kilometres (six miles) away on the Mozambique border, beside the west bank of the Shire river which has burst its banks following days of torrential rain, according to AFP.

It was reported the waters last week invaded her home so swiftly that the young widow had to scramble to get her family to safety. “The floods came very quickly and we had no time to rescue anything, most of my property went with the floods,” she said. “What was important was to save lives.” They are now at the emergency camp, located in Bangula, southern Malawi — close to the border with Mozambique which was hit by tropical cyclone Idai late Thursday, cutting off the coastal city of Berea. “Although we have food, we have no cooking utensils to prepare the food because everything was lost,” said Amidu who said she fears a long stay at the camp as waters begin to subside.

The floods also caused heavy damage to property, including roads and crops which forced President Peter Mutharika to declare a state of disaster. An AFP correspondent saw extensive damage to fields of corn, also known as maize, around Bangula. The destruction could potentially wreak havoc with the harvest due in April and May. The country’s Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has warned Malawians to expect further downpours.

“The government needs 1.1 billion meticais ($16m) to assist 80,000 families affected by the rains.” Mozambique is prone to extreme weather events. Floods in 2000 claimed at least 800 lives while more than 100 were killed in 2015. “Tropical Cyclone Idai, which formed over the Northern Mozambique Channel on March 9, is expected to make landfall near Beira (eastern Mozambique) on March 14 or 15,” said the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

“The cyclone was located over the Mozambique Channel on March 12 and is expected to strengthen into intense tropical cyclone status (Category 4 equivalent) again prior to making landfall.”


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