Meteological Department warns of tropical depression in Indian Ocean that threatens to turn into moderate Tropical Storm

* Monitoring the possibility of strong winds and heavy rainfall mainly over Malawi’s Southern and Eastern districts

By Duncan Mlanjira

The Department of Climate Change & Meteorological Services alerts the public that there a tropical depression which has developed in the Indian Ocean and is currently in the Mozambique Channel — whose weather models were indicating that the depression would intensify and strengthen further into a moderate Tropical Storm in next 24-36 hours as of Saturday, April 23.

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However, the Department assures the public that at the current position, “the impact of the Depression is not significant” and that they are “monitoring the possibility of strong winds and heavy rainfall mainly over Southern and Eastern districts of Malawi and will update accordingly”.

The alert says the Depression centre was at about 670km away from Malawi border as of Saturday and was moving at a speed of about 20km/hr and maximum wind speed of 55km/hr.

The Depression was tracking West Southwards making landfall into Mozambique before turning Southwards back into the Indian Ocean.

When Cyclone Ana was developing in the Indian Ocean in January, and as it moved the Mozambique inland, the Met. Department also issued similar alert but it seems it was not heeded as the nasty storm hit Malawians by surprise.

Cyclone Ana devastated the country especially the Lower Shire, Phalombe, Mulanje and other parts that included loss of life.

As its effects were being heavily felt, another storm, Cyclone Gombe also struck rendering same part of the Lower Shire vulnerable.

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Cyclone Ana brought with it destruction of Kapichira Dam in Chikwawa for Electricity Generation Company (EGENCO), which led to the loss of 130 megawatts it generates, which is 32% of the power of the national grid.

To repair the extensive damage caused and restore power lost, EGENCO needs over K18 billion. Its sister company, Electricity Supply Corporation (ESCOM) also lost major power supply lines mostly for the Lower Shire that are still being restored.

The lost of 130MW led to massive load shedding which is crippling a lot of businesses as they have to heavily rely on gensets, whose fuel is very costly.

Many families, who lost their homesteads are still in relief camps and though they are being encouraged to repatriate to their homes, there is reluctance since they have no roof for their livelihoods.

Displaced families of Cyclone Ana are still being assisted