At least 145 families have been displaced in Salima due to heavy rains the district has received in the past two days.
The victims, who are from Mkwaila Village, Traditional Authority Pemba, have sought refuge at Nkando Primary School while waiting for government’s assistance.
Jeremiah Mphande, Spokesperson in the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, said yesterday that officials from the department were failing to evacuate the people to a safe haven due to swelling of Nengedzi River.
Mphande said that the families, which include about 700 individuals, were marooned at the school.
He mentioned that his department is arranging boats to ferry the victims from where they are stranded and there was hope that by the end of yesterday, the rescue mission would be completed.
The spokesperson explained that there are other 38 families that have been affected in the same area although they have not been displaced.
Mphande added that the figures might increase because of the persistence of the rains in the district.
“We have Kandulu Evacuation Centre which our department constructed as a refuge but the challenge is the river is between the centre and the affected areas. Some men have managed to swim to the other side but many others are still stuck. Our officers in collaboration with the Red Cross Society and District Commissioner’s office are on the ground to assist. We have already organised tents because the evacuation centre is not enough to accommodate 145 families,” Mphande said.
He said that his department has also received reports that there have been floods in Dedza, Machinga and Zomba districts.
The department, he said, is on the ground to assess the situation.
“These rains have also flooded areas of Traditional Authorities Chadza, Kalumba, Chimutu and Mbang’ombe in Lilongwe District. We are waiting for rapid assessment report from Dedza, Machinga and Zomba from the district councils to make sure that we have the required information. So as of now, I cannot divulge more details,” he said.
Meanwhile, the department has urged communities in disaster-prone areas in the country to evacuate to upper land before the situation worsens.
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