The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) released a statement on Thursday, March 21, warning residents in and around Zomba City to be prepared for significant flooding in the coming days. According to officials, the nearby Chagwa Dam on Zomba Mountain has been severely weakened by recent heavy rains and may fail. The recent rains may also cause flooding along the Mulunguzi River. Authorities are warning residents to be prepared to evacuate on short notice in case the dam fails. Engineers are reportedly working to reduce the volume of water in the dam until a solution is developed. Thunderstorms are forecast in Zomba over the coming days, which may produce additional rain.
Southern parts of Malawi have experienced significant flooding since early March. On March 8, a state of disaster was declared in the affected areas. Tropical Cyclone Idai also moved through the area on March 15, resulting in at least 56 deaths in the country. Hundreds of thousands of residents have been impacted by the recent flooding.
Individuals in Zomba City are advised to monitor local weather reports, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, anticipate flooding and associated transportation disruptions, including road closures, and remember that walking or driving through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of moving water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater may contain wastewater and chemical products; all items having come into contact with floodwater should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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