Floods kill 176 and Leave Thousands Homeless in Malawi

By Oliver Ngwenya    17-Jan-2015 14:15 UTC+02:00
Many homes, like this one, have been literally submerged in water, it has been reported. Image: Iris Ministries Malawi.

Many homes in Malawi, like this one, have been submerged in the water.
Iris Ministries Malawi.

The past month has been like a living hell for the people of the tiny Southern African nation of Malawi as rains have savaged more than half of the country, leaving more than 170 people dead and close to 20 000 others displaced or homeless. This has prompted the government to declare most of the southern and central parts of the country disaster zones, paving the way for international intervention and assistance.

This was revealed by the President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika when he visited those affected by the strife in central and southern Malawi on Friday. According to the President, more than half of the Southern part of the ” Warm Heart Of Africa” has been affected by the relentless rains which have pounded the country. He added that his government would definitely not be able to handle the crisis that had resulted from this disaster and called on the international community to come on board and help in the areas of rescue as well as providing food and shelter. Many people have had to be moved to higher ground, leaving their homes and farms in a sorry state after the rains.

Another leader of the country to also speak about the trail of destruction left by the rains was the Deputy President of the country, Saulos Chilima, who told members of the media fraternity that his government was using military helicopters and boats to try and reach the most affected areas to rescue those that had been trapped by the raging waters. He added that the biggest challenge was the weather, which had hampered the rescue efforts. However, the rescuers have been working hard at trying to rescue people that were trapped and in particular, there were frantic attempts to try and find bodies of those people that had drowned in the Shire river.

While there has been many reports of destruction to the rural part of Malawi, creating the impression that it was only the outlying areas that had been affected, in some areas of the capital, Blantyre, many people have had to be moved to school classrooms as their homes have been destroyed by the rains. In addition, in Chilobwe township, many houses were smashed to the ground by massive rocks that had been dislodged from nearby hills and mountains by the incessant rains, which had softened the ground below them. These then rolled downhill and left a clear trail of destruction in their wake. There has, however, been no information on casualties of these incidents.

However, to make matters worse, the meteorologists have predicted more rains in the area. Rescuers in the South African Defence Forces have said that while they were on standby to go and assist in Malawi, they were currently engaged in Mozambique, where heavy rains had also destroyed much infrastructure and left about twenty five people dead.

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