Malawi floods kill three

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iol news pic Malawi floods REUTERS File image - Stranded villagers stand on a bridge partially washed away by flood waters in Chikwawa district, some 70 km south of Malawi?s commercial capital Blantyre. REUTERS/Eldson Chagara

Blantyre, Malawi - Three people have died, and nearly 5 000 households have been ruined as floods swept through parts of Malawi, officials told AFP on Friday.

Heavy rains and strong winds brought deadly flooding the centre and south of the African nation.

“As of yesterday, three people have died from the disasters,” said Gift Mafuleka, deputy director of the department of disaster management.

Mafuleka said the inhabitants of at least 4 929 households had been displaced.

One person was killed when their home collapsed and two others were washed away by flood waters.

The government has launched a relief effort to provide affected districts with food supplies, blankets and plastic sheeting.

It appealed for donations of basic items, particularly food.

“The government cannot do this alone,” said Mafuleka. “We are calling upon local donors to come and help with relief.”

“Food is most important to the victims as they have lost everything.”

The annual rains which accompany the southern hemisphere's summer often spell misery for many in a country where homes are often built with mud and grass.

“Those displaced are being accommodated in churches and schools,” Anatazio Chibwana, a district commissioner for Phalombe said.

He said he feared that more people would be affected as the rains intensified on Friday. - Sapa-AFP

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