Over 100 people have been killed in the Southern African Development Community states of Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa in the past week as a result of heavy rains.
The United Nations (UN) said this on Wednesday, 13 March 2019.
The rains, which have brought floods sweeping flat terrain and flooding rivers, have affected 843,000 people across Southern Africa, officials from these countries and the UN said, prompting calls for emergency aid.
Some 75 people have been killed in Mozambique, Malawi has lost 55 people and four have died in South Africa following the torrential rains that have triggered flash floods in most parts of the region.
Normally the month of March is the ending of the region’s rain season, with crops maturing in the fields. Unlike in the past few years, however, when the region has been hit by drought, this rain season from November to so far, rainfall has been steady – leaving rolling fields of healthy crops – until this past week’s floods, which have destroyed some of the crops, agriculture experts have said.
Malawi President Peter Mutharika has declared a state of emergency in his country, while Mozambique cabinet spokesperson Ana Comoana said the “government has decreed a red alert due to the continuing rains and the approach of the Tropical Cyclone Idai, which is expected to hit the country from Thursday.”
The floods in Mozambique have already destroyed 5,756 homes, affecting 15,467 households and 141,325 people.
In neighbouring Malawi, floods have left over 230,000 people without shelter and affected around 739,000 people, according to the UN.
Malawi’s Meteorological Department has warned of more rains and flooding in Southern African countries between Thursday, 14 March 2019 and Sunday, 17 March 2019.
In Mozambique, 111 people have been injured, 18 hospitals destroyed, 938 classrooms destroyed and 9,763 students affected. More than 168 000 hectares of crops were destroyed, the government spokeswoman added.