Violent storms and flash flooding triggered by heavy rain have affected the south east African countries of Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique over the last few days. Over 20 people have reportedly died since 09 January, 2019.
Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) reported on 11 January that flash floods in the capital Lilongwe, Central Region, have caused severe material damage, affecting around 600 people. No fatalities have been reported.
The floods were triggered by 3 hours of heavy rain on 10 January. DoDMA said that flooding had affected the areas of “Biwi, Area 22, Kaliyeka, Chipasula, Mchesi, Kawale and Area 36 in Lilongwe City, ” and that “parts of Chipasula, Chidzanja and Kawale bridges have been damaged.”
Further damage assessments are being carried out to form the basis for the provision of relief assistance. Malawi’s Minister of Homeland Security, Nicholas Dausi, was expected to visit the affected areas on 11 January.
Heavy rain has also caused flooding in parts of eastern Zambia. Local media said that at least 4 people have died in flooding in Chama District in Muchinga Province. Chama is around 300km north of Lilongwe,Malawi.
The heavy rain caused the Luangwa River to overflow. Flooding has destroyed 11 houses and damaged crops, roads and bridges in the area.
Zambia Meteorological Department said on 07 January that “the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) continues to oscillate about the southern and central parts of Zambia from 8th to 14th January, 2019. This will result into widespread rainfall activities across the country.”
Local media in Mozambique reported on 09 January that at least 18 people had been killed by lightning strikes and river flooding in different parts of Zambezia and Niassa provinces.
Around 14 of the fatalities were thought to have been caused by lightning strikes during a violent storm that hit Niassa province on 09 January.
Other fatalities were a result of people attempting to cross swollen rivers in Zambezia province.