Government statistics show that 176 people have died (with an unknown number still missing). There are over six hundred thousand people affected by the floods in the country because of the week – long torrential rains. The death count is expected to rise as more bodies are found.
Those affected are devastated as they lost their homes. Phalombe, a southern district and one of the worst affected had more than 20,000 houses destroyed, and some areas were submerged beneath 2.5m of water. There is a concern for Cholera because of lack of clean water supplies. It was also noted the increasing number of mosquitoes being attracted to the still water and the worry of malaria as people are forced to sleep outside due to limited shelters.
According to reports, there is a relief camp in Miwemba and one near the Phaloni River, which is very basic. There are no tents; no boreholes and very limited food were the majority has no choice but to sleep outside, despite the rain.
Local charity organisations have intensified their efforts to provide relief aid. During a public meeting last week in Blantyre, President Mutharika praised local and international organisations for responding to his appeal for disaster relief aid although more help is needed.
The Malawian government is assisting people to move to the highland areas.
"The Government is urging people living in flood prone areas to urgently relocate to upland areas to avoid losing more lives because what the country has witnessed is only the beginning of the onset of rains" warned Principal Secretary for Malawi`s Disaster Management affairs, Paul Chiunguzeni.
MUFIS(Malawi Union for the Informal Sector), who is an affiliate of StreetNet International sends out their messages of support to their fellow comrades. “These type of floods has never happened in recent years. There were many lives lost, houses, property, animals and crops damaged. This is really disaster because people in Malawi rely on agriculture and there is a need of urgent assistance. The most affected district seems to be the southern part of Malawi.
There are some humanitarian organisations that are on the ground such as Red Cross International and World Vision but more aid is still needed. The Malawi Defence Force helicopters and boats are assisting by airlifting people who are trapped. They are also distributing supplies to areas which are not easily accessible.
Some of MUFIS members are affected as many of them are from the informal sector. It is sad that many people lost their livelihoods also.”
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