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Disaster warning

Lower Shire at risk of floods

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Charles Kalemba

The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) has warned of flash floods, particularly in Chikwawa, Nsanje and other lakeshore areas.

And, in a statement, Department of Disaster Management Affairs Commissioner Charles Kalemba says the flash floods that are likely to affect the mentioned areas will be triggered by heavy rains that occurred between Wednesday and Thursday.

“In view of the foregoing, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs advises the general public to take the following precautions to save lives: Immediately move to safer and higher areas if you are living in flood-prone areas; avoid crossing flooded rivers and walking through running water; if walking through water is the only option to safety, use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you; stay away from power lines and electrical wires and report about fallen power lines to authorities,” the statement reads.

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Dodma says it has put on standby personnel from Malawi Defence Force (MDF), Malawi Police Service and the Marine Department, who will be ready to offer search and rescue services to those affected in Nsanje, Chikwawa and other districts.

“Dodma is also airing early warning messages on community and national radio stations to raise awareness on flooding, lightning and strong winds,” it reads.

In another development, a statement from Africa Union on Africa Multi-Hazard Early Warning and Action System for DRR Continental Situation Room has put Malawi on level four warning of flooding.

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“Due to the high chances of heavy rainfall that is forecast to affect Malawi, the country is advised to engage with National Hydrometeorological Services to monitor the situation, undertake impacts-based forecasts, be ready to activate the flood contingency plans for emergency response (assistance to victims, search and rescue operations) and monitor water levels in river basins, reservoirs and dams,” the statement reads.

The warnings have put officials in some of the mentioned districts on alert.

For instance, Chikwawa District Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Humphrey Magalasi said they are aware of the warnings and have been disseminating information to the people.

“We, as a district council, have engaged a number of stakeholders. We have community radio stations that are being used to disseminate warning messages. Apart from the radio stations, we also have non-governmental organisations that are disseminating information.

“We are also using community structures at group village head level to disseminate messages on the same. Public address systems are being used,” he said.

He also authenticated a clip circulating on social media, which showed running water at Chikwawa Teachers Training College.

“Yes, we have seen that clip. However, the drainage was not done well and they have to improve on that,” he said.

Meanwhile, part of the Nkhotakota-Salima M5 Road has been cut off by heavy rains around Benga area in Nkhotakota District.

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