The number of people killed in heavy rains and flooding in Malawi has risen to 45, while roughly 15,000 households have been forced to evacuate their homes, the government announced on Tuesday.
The devastating floods have left entire villages underwater in the south of the East African country, damaging infrastructure including roads, power and water supplies and leading the Malawi President to declare a state of disaster on Friday.
“The heavy rain has been most acute in the southern region, with electricity provision affected and some bridges and roads destroyed,” said Maria Jose Torres, the Malawi resident coordinator for the United Nations.
“It is mostly rural Malawi and people under the poverty line who have been impacted. And according to media reports, many people resisted being evacuated because everything that they have is in their homes.”
According to figures released by Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs on Tuesday, a total of 148,000 households – roughly 740,000 people – have so far been affected in 14 of the country’s 28 districts. While the rainfall has now stopped, there are concerns that the numbers of people affected will continue to rise.
The government is leading efforts to house those who have been displaced and 187 temporary camps have been set up and the police and military deployed.