Saturday Star

Malawians airlifted after heavy floods


LILONGWE: Floods devastated parts of Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, yesterday, displacing residents and the Malawi Defence Force rescued several stranded people by helicopter.

A number of rivers that feed into the Lilongwe River through one of the largest rivers in the city, Lingadzi River, burst their banks following heavy rains on Thursday night.

The floods washed away bridges and crops and submerged homes of hundreds of residents, while children were trapped on their way to school.

Eyewitness­es and local media reported two school pupils were rescued after a bridge they usually used was washed away.

“It was a very shocking scenario seeing the two pupils aged between 10 and 12 standing in the middle of the floods that went up to their waist and they only had the green maize stalks to cling to for support,” an eyewitness told Xinhua.

She said two men had swum to the girls and the Malawi Defence Force then airlifted all four to safety.

They were among about 20 people trapped in the floods who were rescued by helicopter.

Crops and property worth millions of dollars were re- ported destroyed in the areas along the affected river banks. Floods were also reported in Malawi’s lakeshore district of Salima.

Over the years floods have hit the southern region of Malawi especially the border districts of Nsanje, Chikwawa and Phalombe. – Xinhua

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