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Storm Ana kills dozens in Malawi, Madagascar and Mozambique

Southern Africa has been hit by flooding that has left more than 70 dead across the region in the wake of Tropical Storm Ana.

Madagascar has seen at least 48 deaths and 130,000 people have been forced to flee their homes to makeshift shelters.

In Malawi, at least 11 people have died. The country has suffered a nationwide power cut and some areas have been declared disaster zones.

Mozambique, meanwhile, has reported 18 deaths.

But officials there say the true number is still unknown, with 20,000 affected by the flooding.

A view on destroyed house after Tropical Storm Ana hit the district of Tete, Mozambique, 27 January 2022
Many homes which avoided destruction were damaged by heavy flooding

In Mozambique, Ana destroyed 10,000 homes and dozens of schools and hospitals, while downing power lines.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms have continued to hit some regions even after the storm’s passage, contributing to the flooding.

A view on destroyed house after Tropical Storm Ana hit the district of Tete, Mozambique, 27 January 2022
Many homes were destroyed outright

Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário said that his country was not begging for help – but the challenge was bigger than any one country’s ability to tackle it.

And he pointed to the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

“We are a country that does not contribute much for climate change, and yet we are one of the countries that suffer the most from its impact,” he said.

He has called for international aid – and Unicef, the United Nations a children’s charity, said it was deploying staff to the country to help the 45,000 people it estimated will need humanitarian aid.

UN Resident Coordinator in Mozambique, Myrta Kaulard, said “vulnerability is very, very high”.

“The challenge is titanic, the challenge is extreme,” she said.

Two men take pictures of a destroyed bridge after Tropical Storm Ana hit the district of Tete, Mozambique, 27 January 2022
Two men photograph a destroyed bridge in Mozambique

Malawi has declared a state of natural disaster.

Floods hit electricity infrastructure as well as homes, leaving beleaguered towns in darkness as the water rose. Power has started to come back for many, after days of blackouts.

Some 44 emergency camps have been set up to deal with thousands of displaced and injured people.

Locals look at a wreck washed away during tropical storm Ana on the flooded Shire river, an outlet of Lake Malawi at Thabwa village
Children find a washed-away wrecked car on the Shire river near Lake Malawi

“This is devastating. Look, all my maize crop has been buried. I planted one and half acres. All the crop is gone,” Roben Mphassa, a farmer in the Chikwawa area in Malawi, told Reuters.

“This disaster is the second one I’ve experienced in my life. But this is the worst.”

While Noria Kananji said the storm took the roof off her home and four homes nearby had been destroyed.

A man carries his ware as he walks past a cut-off road damaged by tropical storm Ana at Thabwa village, in Chikwawa district, southern Malawi
Local people deal with the flooding at Thabwa village in Chikwawa, Malawi

Madagascar was the first nation hit, as the storm made landfall on Monday, and has reported the most confirmed deaths. Schools and gyms in the capital, Antananarivo, have been transformed into emergency shelters for the displaced.

“We only brought our most important possessions,” Berthine Razafiarisoa, who took shelter in one with his 10-strong family, told AFP news agency.

A few hundred people lie on mats on the ground or walk through an indoor sports court
People took shelter at a gym in Madagascar’s capital, Antananarivo last week after heavy rain – before this week’s storm even arrived


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Extreme weather events – including powerful heat waves and devastating floods – are now the new normal, says the World Meteorological Organisation.

Meanwhile, weather services in the region have warned of another storm building in the Indian Ocean, which may materialise in the coming days.

It would be one of several such storms usually expected before the end of the season in two months’ time.



BBC News

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