Cyclone Ana kills 3 in Chikwawa
Chikwawa District Commissioner Ali Phiri has said he has received reports that at least three people have died in the district due to heavy downpours attributed to Cyclone Ana in the Southern Region.
Phiri said the situation was dire as some people had been cut off from others after bridges collapsed, making it difficult for people to access basic social amenities including health.
The three bring the number of people who have died to four after another person reportedly died in Mulanje District.
“The Chapanga Road has been cut in three places, rendering the area inaccessible. We hear that there is a woman, that side, who is in urgent need of a caesarian section and we do not know what will happen,” he said.
Phiri said the M1 Road in Chikwawa was also impassable as water had flooded the road between Thabwa and Kamuzu Bridge.
“Water from rivers such as Likhubula and Mwamphanzi are pushing to go into the Shire River and they have become one big river there. We have vehicles which are failing to cross to the other side,” he said.
Phiri cited Maseya, Bereu, Ngabu and the East Bank side of the district as some of the areas heavily affected by the natural disaster.
“We need urgent assistance, including in the area of evacuation. The government has helped with two boats but the district is big. We are also waiting for an aircraft,” he said.
Nsanje District has also been flooded but the district’s disaster officer Blessings Kamtema said the definite number of people affected would be known after assessments, which are in progress.
“We have received a report of injuries but the exact number of injuries will be known after the team comes back from assessments. For now, people whose houses have completely been demolished are being moved to safe places,” he said.
Kamtema added that they had received people from Mozambique, where the flooding water is going to, and that they were being kept at Ngabu.
In a statement, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs indicated that it had deployed a search and rescue team comprising the Malawi Defence Force, Malawi Police Service, the Department of Marine, the Malawi Red Cross Society and other stakeholders to assist in rescuing people feared to be trapped.
“The department is also establishing an emergency operation centre in Blantyre to coordinate and ease response operations in the wake of [Cyclone] Ana, which is expected to affect most parts of the Southern Region.
“Dodma has readily available relief items in strategic places for provision of assistance to people affected by disasters or those rendered destitute. The department is, in collaboration with councils and humanitarian organisations, setting camps to accommodate displaced households,” the statement reads.