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Southern Africa hit by flooding

23 January 2015


Cut off: a church in southern Malawi is surrounded after relentless rains

Cut off: a church in southern Malawi is surrounded after relentless rains

LATE-SUMMER storms have caused torrential and widespread flooding in southern Africa. Areas of Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe are among the worst affected.

The President of Malawi, Peter Mutharika, has declared a state of national emergency in a third of the country, and appealed for international aid. At least 50 people in Malawi are thought to have died in the flooding, and up to 100,000 have fled their homes.

The UN reported that 1000 people had to be evacuated by helicopter and boats from the worst-hit areas.

In Mozambique, a road split in two after bridges collapsed as a result of flooding, killing 25 people. Large areas of the country have been left without electricity, and thousands of people are without homes or shelter after days of storms and high winds.

The storms have also led neighbouring South Africa to close its famous Kruger National Park, where helicopters have been used to evacuate tourists.

The floods have swept away livestock and destroyed thousands of hectares of crops. One of Mozambique's main crops, the cashew nut, has been badly hit, and 6000 trees are thought to have been destroyed by the flooding.

The charity Us. (formerly USPG) is working in Malawi, and said that churches were providing shelter for people who had lost their homes. The charity is distributing aid; and food, cooking utensils, and medical supplies are urgently needed.

The Bishop of the diocese of Upper Shire, Malawi , the Rt Revd Brighton Malasa, said: "Weather experts predict the rains will continue. We fear there will be more deaths and more loss of property.

"We estimate that over 20,000 to 30,000 people need support. People have lost their homes, and food gardens have been washed away. In short, people have lost everything."

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