Declaration of state of disaster over districts affected by floods, January 2015 by President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika
My fellow Malawians, as you may be aware, some parts of the country, especially in the Southern Region, have experienced a lot of heavy rainfall since last week. This rainfall has resulted in heavy flooding in some districts. The worst affected districts are Nsanje, Chikwawa, Phalombe and Zomba where a lot of people’s houses and household property have been damaged rendering the affected households displaced. Some people have also lost their lives as a result of the floods.
I mourn with those that have lost relatives as a result of these heavy rains. And I pray for the souls of our departed brothers and sisters to rest in peace.
The floods have affected Nsanje, Chikwawa, Phalombe Zomba; Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Mulanje, Balaka, Machinga, Mangochi, Ntcheu, Salima, Rumphi and Karonga districts. So far, it is estimated that 13,999 households (69,995 people) have been displaced by the floods and forty eight (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.
Assessment of the impact of the floods is a problem currently because most of the affected areas are inaccessible. T/A Mlolo, for example, is inaccessible and a lot of people need to be rescued to higher ground as they are stranded. The Malawi Defence Force has already been requested to undertake rescue operations using boats.
Government has been providing assistance to the displaced households. Other organizations have also provided assistance. However, due to the increasing number of affected people, the relief requirements are also increasing.
In the circumstances, it is clear that we have a flooding problem in the country which has affected a considerable number of our fellow citizens. Since most of the areas are inaccessible and considering the large number of displaced households, additional resources are required to provide assistance to all the affected people.
Accordingly, and in accordance with powers conferred upon me by Section 32(1) of the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act, I declare all the districts that have been affected by floods Disaster Areas, with effect from today, 13th January, 2015.
I fully appreciate all previous assistance Malawi has received when affected by disasters. However, I appeal for humanitarian assistance, from the International donor community, the relevant United Nations agencies, the Non Governmental Organisations, the local private sector as well as all fellow citizens of goodwill, so that, together, we can contribute in alleviating suffering on the part of people affected by the floods. Tents and food are urgently required. Rescue operations are also a priority. Donations in cash or kind should be sent to the Secretary and Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, P/Bag 336, Lilongwe 3.
I would like to assure you that Government will see to it that relief assistance is provided to all the affected people in the affected districts. May I also take this opportunity to appeal to the religious community to put our nation in prayer as we face this challenge.
My fellow Malawians, I thank you for your attention. May the Almighty God Bless you all and our country.