Hailstorm in Malawi


A two-year-old girl died in Malawi’s northern region district of Rumphi following a heavy hailstorm that hit the area and rendered hundreds of people homeless. The hailstorm which started on 29th December 2011 through to January 2, 2012 has destroyed over 50 houses whose roofs have been blown off. The victims have since sought refuge in school blocks while one old lady has been hospitalized at Rumphi District Hospital after breaking her both legs and an arm, officials in the district have confirmed. The lady has been identified as Edna Kazeze from Chozoli area and she was injured after her house was extensively damaged by the hailstorm. Rumphi District Commissioner Rhodrick Mateauma and Rumphi Police Victor Khamisi both confirmed the tragedy and said the disaster occurred in the area of Chozoli, TA Mwalweni and at Mhuju. The deceased young girl, Keriff Kumwenda, also came from the same area and was confirmed dead by medical personnel at the hospital. A postmortem revealed that she died due to multiple injuries and suffocation. “Medical doctors pronounced the late Keriff BD (brought dead). She died after walls of her parents’ house fell on her,’ “a nurse at Rumphi District Hospital said. The DC said preliminary assessment showed that Chozoli area alone had 16 houses whose roofs were blown off while 40 houses were destroyed at Ntchenachena. “At Mhuju Primary School, some teachers’ houses were also blown off and currently four teachers’ families have been accommodated school blocks,” said Khamisi adding that crops were not spared either. The office of Department of Disaster Preparedness and Relief is yet to come up with an official damage report, said the official. With schools just opened on Tuesday, it is not known how the teachers will cope up with the situation, considering that most schools in the country do not have enough school blocks/classrooms.

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