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Fresh floods alert in centre, north

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The government has issued a fresh alert of possible floods in central and northern regions of the country.

The Ministry of Water and Sanitation issued the warning, indicating that, according to the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services’ latest weather forecast, the Congo air mass and the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone would be influencing weather in the two regions, causing rains associated with thunderstorms over most areas.

A statement from the ministry indicates that, among other things, some of the rivers that are at risk of flooding include Songwe, North Rukulu and Kyungu Lufulya in Karonga District, Kasitu and South Rukuru in Rumphi District, Bua, Dwangwa, Dwambazi, Lifyodzi and Mkhula in Nkhotakota District, as well as Lingadzi, Linthipe and Lifidzi in Salima District.

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The ministry also says other rivers in the low areas of Karonga, Rumphi, Nkhotakota, and Salima, urban areas of Lilongwe along Lingadzi and Mchesi rivers, may also flood.

“The ministry is, therefore, advising the general public to refrain from settling in, cultivating along, the said areas, during the rain [sic] and crossing the flooded rivers and streams and to be alert when visiting the areas,” the statement reads.

The development comes at a time the country is feeling the pinch of Tropical Storm Ana, which affected parts of Southern Malawi and affected over 900,000 people.

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Agriculture and education sectors have emerged as the worst hit after the storm triggered floods and hailstorms, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) indicates.

A report, which Dodma has submitted to President Lazarus Chakwera, indicates that the storm affected the already shortened 2022 education year, with nearly 100,000 learners being forced out of school.

It cites damaged infrastructure such as school blocks as some of the factors that have worsened the situation for internally displaced persons.

In agriculture, the report says a total of 221,755 farming households in the six districts of Phalombe, Mulanje, Mangochi, Balaka, Chikwawa and Nsanje have been affected.

According to the report, farming households have lost 77,532 hectares of crops such as maize, groundnuts, soybeans, tobacco, rice and cotton, which were either completely washed away or submerged in water while 13,133 farming households have lost 37 livestock.

“With 80 percent of sampled communities reporting farming as the primary source of income, the most urgent needs are to distribute farm inputs, including maize seeds, fertilisers, potato vines, cassava cuttings. The immediate support for maize production should be done within two weeks, not later than February 15 2022,” the report reads.

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