Cyclone Funso causes major floods in southern Malawi





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  1. #1
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    Default Cyclone Funso causes major floods in southern Malawi

    The Shire has burst its banks - does anyone have any news from Liwonde National Park? According to the UN's regional news agency, IRIN, more than 5000 people have been rescued by late today (Wednesday). This from PANA (PanAfrican News Agency):

    Malawi-Floods: Helicopters, Marines deployed to recue thousands in Southern Malawi hills
    Blantyre, Malawi - Authorities in Malawi have despatched Marines from the Malawi Defence Force in military helicopters to rescue thousands of villagers marooned in flooded villages and hills in the southern part of the Lower Shire Valley district of Nsanje.

    Nsanje District Commissioner Rodney Simwaka told PANA Wednesday the district had been receiving heavy rains since mid last week, resulting in the rivers Ruo and Shire, the southern African country's biggest and longest river, to break their banks and flood several villages.

    'About 2,500 villagers managed to flee to the hills but several thousands are still marooned in dry patches of land in the flooded villages,' he said.

    Simwaka said most roads and bridges had been washed away by the floods, thereby cutting off over 30 villages. He said the rescue operation by the marines started Tuesday. 'Its a tricky operation, by 2pm today (Wednesday) they have rescued 99 villagers but the operation is still on going.'

    He said over 5, 000 people, who managed to flee the floods in time, had sought refuge in schools and churches, adding that government was currently distributing relief items, including food, plastic toilets and plastic sheeting, to victims.

    'We are also providing chlorine to purify water since several boreholes were destroyed by the floods and people are drinking unsafe water,' he said.

    Simwaka said apart from injuries there had been no reports of deaths but said several head of cattle, goats and chicken and several hectares of crop fields had been washed away. 'The damage is quite extensive.'

    Meanwhile, the Department of Climate Change and Metrological Services has blamed Cyclone Funso for the heavy rains and the resultant flooding.

    In a statement, the department said Cyclone Funso - which is in the Mozambican channel - had caused too much rain in Malawi.

    It said since Funso was moving eastwards, there would still be heavy rains over Malawi for the coming several days.

    Although the southern Lower Shire Valley is flood-prone, villagers refuse to move to high ground because the valley has alluvial soil that is good for agriculture while patches of land upland are rocky.

    Pana 25/01/2012

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    this seems pretty rough up north again Tony...

    any further news?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Weaver View Post
    The Shire has burst its banks - does anyone have any news from Liwonde National Park? According to the UN's regional news agency, IRIN, more than 5000 people have been rescued by late today (Wednesday). This from PANA (PanAfrican News Agency):

    Malawi-Floods: Helicopters, Marines deployed to recue thousands in Southern Malawi hills
    Blantyre, Malawi - Authorities in Malawi have despatched Marines from the Malawi Defence Force in military helicopters to rescue thousands of villagers marooned in flooded villages and hills in the southern part of the Lower Shire Valley district of Nsanje.

    Nsanje District Commissioner Rodney Simwaka told PANA Wednesday the district had been receiving heavy rains since mid last week, resulting in the rivers Ruo and Shire, the southern African country's biggest and longest river, to break their banks and flood several villages.

    'About 2,500 villagers managed to flee to the hills but several thousands are still marooned in dry patches of land in the flooded villages,' he said.

    Simwaka said most roads and bridges had been washed away by the floods, thereby cutting off over 30 villages. He said the rescue operation by the marines started Tuesday. 'Its a tricky operation, by 2pm today (Wednesday) they have rescued 99 villagers but the operation is still on going.'

    He said over 5, 000 people, who managed to flee the floods in time, had sought refuge in schools and churches, adding that government was currently distributing relief items, including food, plastic toilets and plastic sheeting, to victims.

    'We are also providing chlorine to purify water since several boreholes were destroyed by the floods and people are drinking unsafe water,' he said.

    Simwaka said apart from injuries there had been no reports of deaths but said several head of cattle, goats and chicken and several hectares of crop fields had been washed away. 'The damage is quite extensive.'

    Meanwhile, the Department of Climate Change and Metrological Services has blamed Cyclone Funso for the heavy rains and the resultant flooding.

    In a statement, the department said Cyclone Funso - which is in the Mozambican channel - had caused too much rain in Malawi.

    It said since Funso was moving eastwards, there would still be heavy rains over Malawi for the coming several days.

    Although the southern Lower Shire Valley is flood-prone, villagers refuse to move to high ground because the valley has alluvial soil that is good for agriculture while patches of land upland are rocky.

    Pana 25/01/2012
    Hi Tony,
    I have been planning a trip from Cape Town to Seringeti in mid April going through Malawi.
    Should I reroute due to the floods or could things be better by end April and passable?
    I will be driving a 1994 Land Cruiser.
    Your comment would be valuable to me.
    Thanks,
    Dave Bruce

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    Quote Originally Posted by dave bruce View Post
    Hi Tony,
    I have been planning a trip from Cape Town to Seringeti in mid April going through Malawi.
    Should I reroute due to the floods or could things be better by end April and passable?
    I will be driving a 1994 Land Cruiser.
    Your comment would be valuable to me.
    Thanks,
    Dave Bruce
    Hi Dave, cyclone season is well over by April, but you will still be getting the tail end of the long rains all along your route - actually quite pleasant, cools things nicely, keeps the rivers running, and clears the air for photography. My main concern going through Malawi would be the fuel situation and the political situation - keep tabs on both. Fuel supplies have been very erratic lately, and the political temperature is also heating up. The latter shouldn't be of too much concern if you are sticking to the lake route, but areas like Mzuzu en route to the Nyika, which are opposition strongholds, can see some unrest, albeit not directed at tourists.

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    Hi Tony,
    It seems Liwonde was not affected by the cyclone, they have only had 190mm of rain so far this month compared to the average of 250mm. As normal for this time of the year the access road to Mvuu is not drivable so you have to use the ferry across the Shire River.
    Malcolm

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