Rescue efforts continued across southeastern Africa Monday for thousands of people cut off by flooding from last week's Tropical Storm Ana. The storm killed at least 90 people across Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi. Experts say a fresh cyclone forming near the island nation of Mauritius could hamper rescue efforts and worsen damage in the region.
The storm damaged public infrastructures, including health care facilities and roads, and interrupted medical services to people affected by the storm.
The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the storm killed 20 people in Mozambique and displaced 121,000 others. In Madagascar, according to the Africa CDC, 48 people were killed and 148,000 others left homeless.
In Malawi, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs says Tropical Storm Ana killed 32 people and displaced 188,000 from their homes across 17 districts.
“For Chikwawa alone, [a] total of 44 camps have been set to accommodate the displaced. But the figures might rise, as the council is still conducting some assessment, and the general public will be updated on any development,” said Chipiliro Khamula, the department’s spokesperson.
On Thursday, Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera declared a national disaster in areas hard-hit by Tropical Storm Ana and called for urgent assistance for the flood victims.
In a statement Sunday, the Department of Disaster Management said relief assistance is reaching some areas, although efforts to access others are hampered by impassable roads.
The countries affected by Tropical Storm Ana are concerned by reports of a fresh tropical cyclone, known as Batsirai, is forming near the island nation of Mauritius.
However, weather experts in the region have downplayed those fears.
Yobu Kachiwanda, the spokesperson for Malawi’s' Department of Meteorological Services, said Tropical Cyclone Batsirai is currently still in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.
“And at this stage, the track is not very certain. So, more of its possible track will be observed in the next three days, but otherwise for now, there is no threat to Malawi weather. But if there [will] be any cause of threat to Malawi weather, Malawians will be informed accordingly,” Kachiwanda said.
If it does approach Malawi, he advised people in flood-prone areas to take heed of any warnings from weather experts and officials.
“If they are saying move to higher ground, they should act immediately, because these threats are there, and climate change is with us,” Kachiwanda said.
President Chakwera offered similar advice Monday when he visited flood victims in the Chikwawa and Nsanje districts in southern Malawi.