from MAVHUTO BANDA in Lilongwe, Malawi
LILONGWE, (CAJ News) – THE death toll from Tropical Storm Ana in Malawi has risen to 20.
Over 400 000 people have been left stranded after their homes were destroyed or damaged by floods which swept through the south of the country.
The scale of the storm’s impact is expected to rise in the coming days as relief workers reach villages currently cut off by floodwaters and collapsed roads and bridges.
An estimated 70 000 people are currently sheltering in churches and schools.
A search and rescue operation is underway for people reported to be cut off by floodwaters, with the Malawi defence forces providing boats and aircraft.
“The high winds ripped roofs off homes and blew down walls,” Concern’s Country Director, Yousaf Jogezai, said.
The official said in other cases, structures collapsed as a result of the heavy rainfall.
The heavy rains would also damage the maize harvest – a key element of the staple diet in Malawi – and result in food insecurity in the coming months.
Concern’s team is on the ground, distributing plastic sheeting, mosquito nets, blankets, soap and essential household items.
The World Bank lists Malawi amongst the top ten nations to be worst affected by climate change and is experiencing extreme weather.
The Southern African country was already facing difficulties due to drought conditions in recent months.
– CAJ News