Southern Africa: Floods and Cyclones Update (as of 15 Jan 2015)
According to preliminary information, an estimated 75,000 people (15,000 households) have been displaced by weeks of heavy rains in Malawi, and this number is expected to increase.
About 1,000 people were rescued from isolated areas yesterday, 14 January, as more boats arrived from the Malawi Defence Force and clear weather allowed operations to be stepped up. The (local) cluster system has been activated, and the Vice President has requested all clusters to submit their response plan today, 15 January; some clusters have already done so. Government will be establishing emergency operations centres in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu, and ramping up preparedness efforts in the north of the country where more rains are forecasted over the coming week. Over the longer term, normal to above-normal rains are predicted for the January-to-March period over the whole country.
The tropical cyclone forming in the Mozambique Channel is continuing on its trajectory toward the east of Madagascar, and is expected to intensify and make landfall on 16 January. Current high water levels across the country, including around the capital Antananarivo, could exacerbate the impact of the system, which will be named Chedza. Many models are predicting that Chedza will cross Madagascar fairly quickly, only to reorganize itself and move rapidly towards Réunion Island and Mauritius by 18 January.
A multi-agency team, together with a team from the Civil Protection Corps, is scheduled to deploy today, 15 January, to Morondava. A second team is expected to deploy tomorrow, 16 January, with their destination dependant on the evolution of the system. Response plans are also being developed for Antananarivo.
The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is sending troops to assist flood-stricken areas in the Zambezia Province in Mozambique.
According to a representative, the deployment will consist of two Oryx medium transport helicopters, SA Navy divers and medical personnel from the South African Military Health Service, who will assess the situation and the exact requirements.
Tropical Cyclone Bansi continues to move away from Mauritius toward the autonomous outer island of the Republic of Mauritius, Rodrigues, situated about 560 km east of Mauritius. Bansi is forecasted to make landfall over Rodrigues on 16 January as either a very intense Category 4 or Category 5 tropical cyclone. Rodrigues has a population of about 42,000. Warnings have been issued to residents and the situation is being closely monitored.
Over the next seven days, rainfall is set to decrease over much of Mozambique and southern Malawi, but heavy rains are expected further north over Zambia, Tanzania and northern Malawi. With the approaching cyclone, Madagascar will continue to experience high rainfall.
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