Department of Disaster Management Affairs says over 12,000 households have been affected so far by different forms of disasters that have occurred in the country in the past few weeks.

Director for Disaster Risk Reduction in the department James Chiusiwa told the media that 18 districts have been affected by stormy rains, strong winds and floods in the country.

“Since the onset of the rainy season, 12,543 households have been affected by disasters which have damaged people’s houses and household property, crops in the field and infrastructure such as roads and bridges,” he said.

Meanwhile, United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) says alongside other partners, it is scaling up emergency assistance to flood-hit areas in the Southern Region.

“Unicef is providing communities with a combination of water, sanitation and hygiene-related supplies which include chlorine, soap, water purification chemicals and plastic sheeting for construction of temporary bathing and latrine shelters,” says Unicef in a statement released yesterday.

The United Nations organisation says there is need for heightened hygiene awareness campaigns to stem the risk of cholera in affected areas.

It also notes the disruptions that the floods have caused, forcing families to seek shelter in schools which they are using as kitchens and bedrooms leading to considerable damage to school furniture and disruption in learning in at least 20 locations.

“Unicef has provided the school-in-a-box supplies to ensure that quality learning resumes in the affected primary schools,” reads the statement.

It adds that persistent rains have destroyed roads making access to flooded areas difficult for the delivery of relief materials.

Besides the flooding, Unicef notes that Mangochi, Phalombe and Nsanje are also among the districts hit hardest by food shortages, which has left a total of nearly 2 million people food insecure across the country.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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