Cyclone Funso causes floods in Malawi, 5 000 displaced

About 5 000 people have fled their homes to escape floodwaters in south Malawi due to heavy rains from a deadly cyclone that is battering neighbouring Mozambique, authorities said on Wednesday.

Army helicopters and motorboats were deployed to the south district of Nsanje, along the Mozambican border, to rescue marooned villagers.

Nsanje has been “receiving heavy rains since mid-last week which has resulted in two big rivers to break their banks and flood scores of villages”, district commissioner Rodney Simwaka said by telephone.

The Shire River, which flows out of Lake Malawi, and the Ruo, which originates from the picturesque Mulanje Mountain, have flooded following heavy rains caused by Cyclone Funso, a powerful category four storm moving slowly through the Mozambican Channel.

Simwaka said about 2 500 villagers fled to hills when the floods hit homes along the rivers.

“Several thousands of people are still marooned in dry patches of land in the flooded villages,” he said.

Roads and bridges leading to Nsanje, 175km from the commercial capital Blantyre, had been washed away, cutting off 30 villages.

He said the helicopter and engine boat operation to rescue the villagers started on Tuesday. Only 99 villagers have been flown to safety and were being housed in schools and churches where the government was distributing food and relief items.

No deaths were reported, but hundreds of hectares of the maize fields were under water and scores of cattle, goats and chickens had been washed away, he added.

The district is prone to floods every year and thousands of villagers defy government orders to move to higher land because they want to grow crops in river banks after the floods, which leave soil rich in silt. — AFP


These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Coalition politics and law: The fight over Tshwane

With coalition politics on the rise, particularly in local government, this kind of court case is likely to become more common

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread
Advertising

Press Releases

Openview, now powered by two million homes

The future of free-to-air satellite TV is celebrating having two million viewers by giving away two homes worth R2-million

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday