Mulanje — At least 600 houses have been destroyed by a windstorm that hit Mulanje District on Sunday evening.
Preliminary results from a quick assessment done by Mulanje District Civil Protection Committee (DCPC) on Monday and Tuesday, shows that about 628 households and nine schools have been affected across the district.
Mulanje District Council Director of Planning and Development, Emmanuel Bulukutu, said in an emergency DCPC meeting on Tuesday that the number of affected houses is expected to increase as officials are still on the ground conducting assessment.
"From what we have gathered, the strong winds affected all traditional authorities in the district. However, T.A. Nkanda was hit worst, leaving about 39 households in need of immediate assistance," said Bulukutu.
He added: "Some people have been injured when the walls of their houses were collapsing and were rushed to the district's hospital but currently, we have not received any report that a life has been lost due to the catastrophe."
He said as a council, they have already begun mobilizing relief materials, including plastic sheets, from partners to be given to those greatly affected.
"After the rapid assessment, our next course of action is to provide food and shelter to the needy.
"The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has already been notified of the situation on the ground. A report has also been compiled and sent to them and other partners, we will see how they will help us," said Bulukutu.
Mulanje Red Cross Society Project Officer, Evance Liyati said the magnitude of the windstorm was so enormous that some houses have been completely destroyed.
"The strong winds came with heavy rains in some parts of the district. Many houses, grass thatched and with iron sheets had their roofs blown off and walls collapsed.
"There is urgent need to provide for food and shelter to those who have lost everything and construction materials so that they should start rebuilding," he said.
He then appealed to all partners and well-wishers to lend a helping hand as many of the affected are the elderly and children in dire need of assistance.
Village Head Nthokole of T.A. Nkanda asked government to intervene by providing shelter and food, saying the lives of her people is at risk as they have nowhere to go and no food to eat.
"I am more concerned about the elderly and children. Just last year, we were burdened with dry spells, we harvested so little, now this windstorm has completely taken away the food they had and the roof over their heads," she lamented.
Monica Fabiano, 76, a local farmer from Nthokole Village in T.A. Nkanda said her house was completely destroyed by the wind. She said she also lost her food in the rain that followed.
"I have nowhere to stay and the little maize flour I had has been washed away by the rain when the storm blew off the roof and collapsed two sides of my house.
"I beg all well-wishers to help as I have a grand-daughter I look after," she said.
Some of the traditional authorities (T.As) affected include Mabuka (115 houses) Nkanda (26 houses) T/A Nkanda (282 houses) T/A Njema (200 houses).