The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has issued a severe weather warning that Central, Southern and Lakeshore areas of the country will experience heavy rainfalls from Sunday (5th January, 2020) to Thursday (9th January, 2020), a situation that might trigger the occurrence of flash floods in low-lying and flood-prone areas.
The rains are likely to be associated with strong winds and lightning. As such, the general public is hereby advised to, by all means, avoid seeking shelter under trees and weak infrastructure. The general public is further advised to stay away from power lines and electrical wires and report downed power lines to ESCOM officials, law or other relevant authorities.
The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), in collaboration with various stakeholders, has intensified sensitizations and calls for people living in flood-prone areas to move upland. The department will be airing radio programmes and jingles on various radio stations to raise awareness of the imminent flooding.
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Herewith is a list of what to do before and during floods:
WHAT TO DO BEFORE FLOODS
- Develop a culture of listening to the radio or watching television and reading news for information. (The Department of Disaster Management Affairs is airing jingles on radio stations to raise awareness on flood early warning systems).
- Teach children about flood hazards.
- Identify safer places for evacuation during floods.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Be aware of streams, drainage channels and other areas known to flood suddenly. Flash floods can occur in these areas with or without such typical warnings as rain clouds or heavy rains.
- Pay attention to flood early warning signs such as long rainfall duration and rising water levels in lakes and rivers.
WHAT TO DO DURING FLOODS
- Evacuate to safer places immediately.
- If you are capable, assist in search and rescue and provision of relief aid.
- Do not walk through moving water. Six inches of moving water can make you fall.
- If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas and drifts. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and your vehicle can be quickly swept away.
- Stay away from power lines and electrical wires and report downed power lines to ESCOM officials, law or other relevant authorities.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) on Thursday (2nd January, 2020) provided relief assistance to 25 households that were displaced by flash floods around Ngomani Area (between areas 25 and 49) and sought refuge at Chipala Primary School.
Speaking when he presented the relief items, which included maize, kitchen utensils and soya pieces, DoDMA’s Deputy Director of Disaster Response and Recovery Dyce Nkhoma said the department will reach out to all the affected households once the Lilongwe City Council finalizes assessments aimed at establishing the extent of damage caused by the flash floods that came about as a result of heavy rains that poured on 31st December, 2019.
One of the beneficiaries, Agnes Richard, commended the department for the timely response.
“We required immediate food assistance and this has come at a right time and we hope that the Government, and its partners will continue assisting us until we are back on our feet,” Said Richard.