JOHANNESBURG Â -Â More than 100 000 people have been displaced by flooding in Malawi, and scores have died there and in neighboring Mozambique after weeks of rain, officials said Friday.
The United Nations World Food Program said it plans to airlift more than 100 metric tons of food to the southern African country Malawi to feed at least 77,000.
“Access to the hardest-hit areas to assess the situation has been extremely difficult as the floods have washed away many roads and bridges,” the WFP said in a statement.
Districts in the country’s south, especially the Chikwawa and Nsanje districts, have been worst affected, the group said.
At least 48 people have died during flooding, said Malawian Vice President Saulos Chilima, adding that “several people are still missing” on Thursday evening.
“Four bodies were pulled out of the water but many more are still unaccounted for,” said Alex Mdoka of the Chikwawa District Commission.
Tents have been set up for those left homeless, and many have found refuge with friends and neighbors whose homes have survived the deluge, according to aid organization Doctors Without Borders. The international medical organization said in a statement on Friday that it was concerned that displaced people were also vulnerable to water-borne disease due unsanitary conditions.
In neighboring Mozambique, flooding has damaged the country’s main road connecting the north and south of the country and emergency services are using boats to access flood victims.
At least 38 people have died during heavy flooding there, according to Mozambican news agency, AIM. The Zambezia province has been the worst affected, where the Licungo river has reached its highest levels since 1971.
The South African National Defense Force said it is sending troops and equipment to assist with disaster management in Mozambique.
“The deployment will consist of two Oryx medium transport helicopters, SA Navy divers and medical personnel from the South African Military Health Service,” Captain Jaco Theunissen said in a statement. -Sapa-AP