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Cyclone Ana Kills 4 People, Displaces Thousands in Southern Malawi

People stand on the other side of a road destroyed by tropical storm Ana, along M1 Chikwawa road, Malawi, Jan. 26, 2022, in this screen grab obtained from a social media video.

Cyclone Ana has killed at least 34 people in Madagascar, two in Mozambique and four in Malawi, where thousands were left homeless.Malawi, which also lost power for two days, has deployed search and rescue teams to help people feared trapped in flood-hit areas.

Emily Mateyu was sleeping at her home in the Chikwawa district of southern Malawi when the flood waters from Cyclone Ana arrived.

A single mother of one child, Mateyu recounts her narrow escape.

She said, “It was around 11pm. I was awakened by the flooding waters from the nearby river which surrounded my house. That night I ran with my child to the higher land, leaving all my property soaked in the water.”

Mateyu is among thousands of people in southern Malawi who have been made homeless by heavy rain and floods caused by Ana, which hit Malawi Sunday.

The flooding has caused many houses to collapse, forcing occupants to seek refuge in churches and schools.

A destroyed house is covered by mud from a landslide caused by tropical storm Ana in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Jan. 26, 2022.
A destroyed house is covered by mud from a landslide caused by tropical storm Ana in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Jan. 26, 2022.

Mateyu said in her area, flood victims are sleeping on bare ground, saying someone needs to provide them with tents and other necessities.

She said, “We have nowhere to sleep. Even the churches and schools here are in the water. What we need most now is food and clothes because all our property has been washed away.”

Chipiliro Khamula is spokesperson for the Department of Disaster and Management Affairs in Malawi.

He said the department is still receiving assessment reports from the districts.

Khamula could not specify the total number of people affected.

“For now we are still getting reports from the councils. But the figures are on the higher side. Chikwawa alone has over 10,000 households displaced. And Mwanza has over 4,000 people affected,” he said.

Four people were confirmed killed as of Wednesday.

Khamula said rescue efforts are under way to help others trapped in flood-hit areas.

“As of yesterday, we deployed a search and rescue team, comprising the Malawi Defense Force, the Malawi Police Service, Marine Department, to ensure that they rescue people feared to be trapped in Mulanje, Zomba, Chikwawa and Nsanje.”

The Department of Meteorological Services says Cyclone Ana has left the country but warned that heavy rains would continue in some parts of southern Malawi.