Three people have died while about 1 070 have been affected by natural disasters that have hit some parts of the country in the past three weeks.
Department of Disasters Management Affairs (Dodma) said in a statement signed by commissioner for disaster management affairs Charles Kalemba that between January 9 and February 1 2024, about 238 households have been affected by disasters mainly stormy rains, strong winds, floods and lightning.
The statement said that since the onset of the rain season, the number of people affected by disasters has jumped from 21 380 as of January 9 to about 22 450 people as of yesterday in the 20 affected districts.
The department further indicates that about 46 people have sustained injuries.
Reads the statement in part: “The death toll is now at eight [from five]; out of which five and three were caused by lightning strikes and floods respectively. The total number of injuries (largely caused by stormy rains) remains at 46.
A woman in Dowa picks up maize after her garden was destroyed by floods early last month
“Currently, the department has reached out to 4 868 households, [approximately 21 906 people and representing 97 per cent of the total number of the affected] with food and non-food items, which include maize, beans, blankets, pails and plastic sheets.”
In an interview yesterday, Dodma spokesperson Chipiliro Khamula said of the 20 affected districts, Chiradzulu, Thyolo and Nsanje are the hardest hit. However, he could not indicate exactly how many people have been displaced since the onset of the rain season.
“A camp in Dowa was closed. Just a few households living in housing units were erected. The rest rented other houses,” he said.
The number of affected households, deaths and injuries is much lower compared to a similar period last year. As at January 20 2023, the disasters had affected 73 921 people and claimed 56 lives.