Survivors on Wednesday recounted harrowing experiences of spending the night in floodwater as Malawi’s river Shire swelled and broke its banks due to the effects of Tropical storm Ana.
Alongside Bazilion Benjamin, Mercy Jailosi was heading to Blantyre on official assignment from her workplace.
While crossing a bridge stretching over the river, Benjamin realized the vehicle they were in was stuck in floodwater and was being swayed into deeper water.
Benjamin and Jailosi climbed out of the vehicle and stood on top of it as the water continued to rise.
Narrating her ordeal as tears fell from her blood-shot eyes, Jailosi said she swam as far as she could in the darkness before finding a pile of washed away garbage to cling onto.
“Early in the morning, there was more water that ended up pushing the pile of garbage I was on down the river. As this was happening, I kept singing for God,” she said.
Blown from the Indian Ocean Island of Madagascar across Mozambique, Tropical Ana first landed in Zomba, Phalombe and Mulanje, bringing with it torrential rain and heavy wind.
The flooding caused many houses to collapse, killing at least one person and leaving thousands more homeless.
Malawi’s main highway has been cut off by the flooding and many people are feared to be trapped by the surging waters, according to Malawi government officials.
Power has also been cut, leaving most parts of the country in darkness due to torrents of water carrying debris that has choked turbines in most hydropower stations – many of which are located along the Shire river.