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Several months of heavy rains in Malawi are threatening to undo any gains that farmers in the south may have made following a prolonged dry spell.
At least 9,000 households have been affected by flooding since October 2012, according to Gift Mafuleka, deputy director for the Department of Disaster Management Affairs. The flooding has so far resulted in three deaths and significant damage to property and crops.
Mafuleka told IRIN that her department is carrying out an assessment to determine more accurately the extent of flood-related damage and the needs of those affected.
Displacement and damage
The hardest-hit areas are Phalombe, Mangochi, and Nsanje districts, all in the south of the country and in the same region that, only months ago, had been suffering from too little rain. The resulting poor harvests had left nearly 2 million people without enough food to get them through the lean season, according to an October 2012 assessment by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC).