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Storm aftermath

100,000 learners out of school

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Agriculture and education sectors have emerged as the worst hit after Tropical Storm Ana hit some parts of the country in late January, triggering floods and hailstorms, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) has said.

A report, which Dodma has submitted to President Lazarus Chakwera, indicates that the storm has 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 (IDPs).

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“In Chikwawa, 92 schools have suffered infrastructural damage of varying extent, to 42,985. Twenty five schools have been occupied by Internally Displaced Persons. Sanitation in these schools has been compromised [such that] for instance, at Bodza School, there is a camp of 2,500 IDPs, with only three male and three female toilets and no bathroom at all. Five schools were submerged in water. 100 pit latrines, 22 classroom blocks, eight teachers’ houses were damaged. Teaching and learning materials were soaked in water due to the storm. denying access to education

“In Nsanje, 40 primary schools and one community day secondary school are affected by storm Ana, affecting 46,474 learners…. The effects range from school structures being submerged in water, and/ or partially and completely collapsed. Specifically, 31 classroom blocks and four administration blocks were destroyed. 13 teachers’ houses were destroyed and, in all these schools, most teaching and learning materials (TLM) such as textbooks were destroyed by water and falling walls and most of the schools are being used as IDP camps,” the report reads.

According to the report, 8,210 learners were not accessing school facilities at the time of assessment in Mulanje District, where 13 out of 14 zones were affected.

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In the district, a total of 31 schools were severely affected while 22 schools are hosting IDPs.

Dodma says education services have also been disrupted in some schools in Balaka and Mangochi districts.

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

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

Addressing the affected people at Thamwa Camp on January 31, Chakwera called for support from development partners, saying although he had not received the report that time, the damage appeared extensive.

“Our friends in Mozambique have suffered more; so, we know that we are not the only ones in need of help. All the same, we are asking our partners to support us because we cannot manage on our own,” he said.

In his speech at the African Union summit on Saturday, Chakwera attributed the impact of Tropical Storm Ana in Malawi and Mozambique to climate change.

Approximately 870,000 people have been affected by floods, close to 100,000 people are displaced and a least 33 have died.

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