5 January 2018

Malawi: Storm, Heavy Rains Render Hundreds Destitute in Dowa

Dowa — Over 250 families from 16 villages in Traditional Authority Msakambewa in Dowa District are seeking shelter in their relatives' and other people's houses and do not know where food will come from, after stormy rains destroyed their houses and property.

The incidents, which occurred on 24th December, 2017 and 2nd January, 2018 have affected 16 out of the 27 villages in the area, resulting into villagers losing their maize flour, kitchen utensils and farm animals, among others.

Chairlady for Chikudzo Village Development Committee (VDC) who is also executive member for Msakambewa Area Development Committee (ADC), Fatness Majomeka said on Wednesday the number of affected households was likely to increase as a result of stormy winds that hit the same area on Tuesday.

She said this when District Environmental Officer who is also Desk Officer for Disaster Management Affairs, Yusuf Laki, in the company of Ward Councilor for Msakambewa East Ward, Martin Luka and other officials from the council visited some of the affected households on Wednesday to appreciate the scale of the disaster.

Majomeka appealed for immediate relief items such as food, plastic sheets and Chlorine, observing that many toilets have been destroyed, posing a threat of impending outbreak of water borne diseases.

The Desk Officer for Disaster Management assured the affected families that he would forward a report to the relevant authorities for action.

Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), some of the affected people said it is by God's grace that there were no deaths reported since the houses collapsed during the night when people were sleeping.

Chimwanza Wickson, one of those affected who has a wife and two children said he lost over 200kgs of maize flour as a result of the rains.

He said many people in the area get their maize milled prior to the rainy season so that the flour can take them through the season, since transportation to mills is a challenge because of long distances, especially when rains have started.

"We make sure that before the onset of the rains, we get our maize milled so that it can take us through the rainy season. Now, because of this, many of us have lost our food which was meant to last for the remaining part of the year," Chimwaza said.

Some of the villages affected are Muyesakumva, Chikudzo, Mkaka, Chimphuno and Chimpoza.

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