Torrential rains since Monday, February 24, 2020, have led to widespread flooding in the Central Region of Malawi, including capital city Lilongwe. Local police reported four fatalities on Wednesday, February 26, due to weather-related incidents.
Streets of Lilongwe were inundated up to 1.5 m (5 feet), resulting in severe traffic disruption and major damage to properties including a newly-built hospital.
According to the local police, three fatalities were reported in the Lilongwe river in Kawale area on February 22.
Another death was reported in the Mchinji district in the central region on February 21. According to the Malawi News Agency (MANA), heavy rain caused the wall of a house to collapse, killing the person.
Moderate to heavy rain is expected to continue over much of the country from February 26 to 28.
Furthermore, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (MET) director Jolamu Nkhokwe warned of a wave of widespread thunderstorms that will pass through the country, from the south moving towards the central area, and eventually to the north.
Lilongwe bridge now as the rain still continues pic.twitter.com/Sndcw3iaoY— Towards Malawi Elections (@Malawi2014) February 24, 2020
"This is due to the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone as it crosses the country, leaving the southern region with meager and reduced rainfall activities."
"This will result in most areas in the southern region experiencing erratic and isolated thunderstorms interspaced with dry weather conditions particularly over the extreme south."
Nkhokwe continued, "While thunderstorm rainfall activities will be interspaced with dry weather conditions, heaviest episodes will be over the northern and central areas of the country."
"Locally heavy downpours which could result in swelling of rivers due to siltation are likely to trigger floods particularly over northern lakeshore areas."
District officials have advised residents to stay on higher grounds as the threat of further flooding persists. Moreover, the director encouraged the general public to plant more trees which will help in storing soil moisture.
Nkhokwe assured that MET is closely monitoring weather developments over the country, including in the southwest Indian Ocean and in the Mozambique Channel where tropical cyclone formation may take place.
Lilongwe this evening pic.twitter.com/4oFZULHGIu— David Kalenzi (@kalenzidavid) February 24, 2020
NEWS UPDATE: Heavy rains have once again exposed poor drainage system in Lilongwe. The pictures show vehicles submerged in water at a garage in Biwi Township and Corporate Mall in Lilongwe as the rains continue. #NationOnline pic.twitter.com/k1LyG3HbIS— NationOnline (@NationOnlineMw) February 24, 2020
Featured image credit: @NationOnlineMw/Twitter