The number of people killed in floods in southern Malawi has risen to 56, an official said on Wednesday (March 13), with the country now also on alert for an approaching tropical cyclone.

Almost 83,000 people have been displaced by since storms that began more than a week ago caused rivers to break their banks, leaving villages underwater, and knocked out power and water supplies in some areas.

Now Malawi has been put on alert for more rain and flooding on Thursday when Tropical Cyclone Idai is expected to make landfall through Beira, in neighbouring Mozambique, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services said.

The cyclone will dump heavy rains and winds over Mozambique, before moving to southern Malawi and later Zimbabwe, the department’s director, Jolam Nkhokwe, said.

Regions of Mozambique have also already been affected by flooding.

Malawi’s President Arthur Peter Mutharika, who declared a state of disaster in southern Malawi late on Friday (March 8), cancelled trips to the northern region of Malawi to attend to the flooding.

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