Heavy rains since 6 March 2019 have impacted more than half a million people in Malawi and Mozambique, according to preliminary reports. In Malawi, more than 468,600 people have been affected, including more than 31,700 displaced, with 30 deaths and 377 injuries recorded to date, according to the Government. Thirteen districts have been impacted, with Nsanje and Phalombe districts hardest hit. Rapid needs assessments are underway to verify preliminary figures and identify people in need of immediate humanitarian assistance. In Mozambique, nearly 63,000 people have been affected, including more than 10,500 displaced, and at least 10 deaths have been reported. Three provinces (Zambezia, Tete and Niassa) have been impacted, with Zambezia province hardest hit. In Zambezia and Tete, more than 5,100 houses have been flooded (nearly 3,100 in Zambezia and more than 2,000 in Tete) and more than 83,300 hectares of crops have been flooded (more than 78,600 in Zambezia and nearly 4,700 in Tete), affecting more than 54,800 smallholder farmers (more than 52,200 in Zambezia and more than 2,600 in Tete). In Zambezia alone, more than 280 classrooms have been damaged and across Zambezia and Tete more than 22,900 students (more than 19,900 in Zambezia and more than 2,900 in Tete) and nearly 600 teachers (nearly 550 in Zambezia and more than 50 in Tete) have been affected by the flooding.
Tropical Cyclone Idai, which formed over the Northern Mozambique Channel on 9 March, is expected to bring heavy rains and strong winds to Madagascar and Mozambique in the coming days. The storm has come closer than expected to the west coast of Madagascar, impacting on Boeny and Melaky, and has also brought strong winds and rains to Comoros. It is likely to make landfall south of Zambezia and north of Sofala provinces in Mozambique in the latter half of the week, according to current projections. In the meantime, the Zambezi river basin has reached its maximum capacity, heightening the risk of additional flooding in the lower Zambezi.
The Malawian and Mozambican governments are leading humanitarian responses to flooding in their respective countries, supported by humanitarian partners. In Malawi, humanitarian response, search and rescue efforts and rapid needs assessments are underway. In Mozambique, 15 transit centres have been established for people displaced by the floods (11 in Zambezia, 2 in Tete and 2 in Niassa). Provincial authorities in Zambezia report that the most urgent needs are family tents, water purifier, mosquito nets, blankets and other non-food items.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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