At least 48 people have been killed and up to 70’000 displaced from their homes as heavy flooding hit the southeastern countries of Malawi and Mozambique.
Heavy flooding has killed as many as 48 people in Malawi and Mozambique, as up to 70’000 people were also forced from their homes. Malawi was the worst hit country and President Peter Mutharika has declared a third of the country a disaster zone, urgently appealing for foreign aid.
Reports from neighbouring Mozambique said a group of 25 schoolchildren were swept away by floodwater on Monday.
Heavy regional rain began last month and forecasters say they expect it to continue over the coming days. Mr Mutharika said his government alone did not have the money to cope.
He added, “So far, it is estimated that 69,995 people have been displaced by the floods and 48 people have lost their lives. The floods have also damaged a lot of hectares of crops, washed away livestock and damaged infrastructure such as roads and bridges”.
Homes and crops in Malawi were destroyed by the rising torrents while roads and railways have also been cut off.
One government official said many victims died when villages were flooded in Mangoche district, an area in the south about 100km (60 miles) south of Blantyre, the commercial capital.
“People have fled into schools and churches on higher ground, others are in the open because there is not enough space,” said Grey Mkwanda, a district planning officer, speaking to the press.
He added that some victims in Blantyre had perished when their homes collapsed.
“Delayed and overall below-average cumulative rains since the start of the rainy season in October last year have adversely affected the 2015 cereal crops, but prolonged heavy rains may worsen the situation,” said Jeffrey Luhanga, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture.
The rising waters have been caused by late summer storms in the region.