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Flooding in Malawi kills 48 people & puts children at risk for drowning

2015-01-15

Lilongwe, MALAWI, January 15, 2015—Forty-eight people are dead and an estimated 70,000 displaced in Malawi, after heavy rains caused severe flooding, UNICEF said today.

There has been extensive damage to crops, livestock and homes, leaving thousands displaced. In the southern-most district of Nsanje, many of the roads are impassable, with communities cut off and villagers, especially children, vulnerable to drowning. The President has declared a State of Disaster, stating that this is the worst flooding since 1964.

The Government has appealed to the international community for support, specifically in the provision of tents, food and non-food items (especially tarpaulins/plastic sheets, kitchen utensils and blankets) as well as support in conducting search and rescue operations.

UNICEF, with government and other UN agencies, is assessing the situation and determining the response needs. Poor infrastructure and impassable roads has made the assessment challenging but critical information is being garnered.

UNICEF response

Pre-positioned supplies including tents, buckets, chlorine for water purification and latrine slabs are being distributed by district teams. UNICEF has also dispatched 1,500 survival kits and 1,560 blankets to the affected areas, from its central warehouse. UNICEF plans to scale up the response in coming days.

Please refer to the Relief Web site for the latest OCHA briefing note.

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About UNICEF:

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

For further information:

Stefanie Carmichael, Communications Specialist, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8866; Cell: (647) 500-4230, scarmichael@unicef.ca.
Tiffany Baggetta, Director, Communications and Brand, (416) 482-6552 ext. 8892; Cell: (647) 308-4806, tbaggetta@unicef.ca.