Locals look at a car wrecked by tropical storm Ana on the Shire river, in Chikwawa, Malawi, January 26, 2022. Photo: Reuters/Eldson Chagara
Maputo: The death toll from tropical storm Ana has risen to at least 12 in Mozambique and Malawi, authorities said, although officials and aid agencies are still assessing the full impact of the storm that swept through southern Africa on Monday.
Mozambique’s National Institute for Management and Disaster Risk Reduction said on Tuesday that eight people had died, 54 had been injured and 895 evacuated in the prior 24 hours.
More than 20,000 people in Mozambique have been affected by the storm, with more than 3,000 homes partially destroyed and over 600 totally destroyed along with several health centres and dozens of classrooms, the institute said, adding that drones and boats had been deployed in relief efforts.
In neighbouring Malawi, where the storm led to major power cuts as flooding damaged electricity installations, the district commissioner for Chikwawa confirmed three more deaths, after the disaster department on Tuesday reported a death in Mulanje.
Mozambique and other southern African countries have been repeatedly struck by severe storms and cyclones in recent years that have destroyed infrastructure and displaced large numbers of people.
Experts say the storms have become stronger as waters have warmed due to climate change, while rising sea levels have made low-lying coastal areas vulnerable.
Naemi Heita, acting head of the cluster delegation in Mozambique’s capital Maputo for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told Reuters that clean drinking water, mosquito nets and masks were some of the immediate items needed to prevent disease outbreaks.
“Beyond the emergency response we need to make sure that we support those families to rebuild their livelihoods – their fields are submerged and their houses are destroyed, … we need to support them to build back safer,” she added.
(Reuters – reporting by Manuel Mucari in Maputo, Alexander Winning in Johannesburg and Frank Phiri in Blantyre; editing by Philippa Fletcher)