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Phalombe 1991 Napolo Attributed to Deforestation

PHALOMBE: Authorities in Phalombe district say they cannot rule out the massive deforestation in Michesi Mountain as the major cause for the 1991 Phalombe avalanche disaster commonly known as Napolo.

During the disaster, 100 people died, several others seriously injured while houses, crops and livestock were washed away by the flooding water from the mountain.

As the district launched this year's Forestry Season on Friday, District Commissioner Atanazio Chibwana called on people to plant as many trees as possible in the mountain and other places like village forests and along the river banks to avert future catastrophe.

“The 1991 avalanche disaster remains the biggest of all the natural calamities the district has so far experienced as 101 people were confirmed dead. As a people we can avert future disasters by planting more trees in the mountain,” said the DC

Forestry Activities Coordinator from USAID-MOBILISE Project Mr Nathaniel Nthala asked people to take care of the trees they plant.

Mr. Nthala whose MOBILISE Project financially supported the event, said the organization will continue working with the District Forestry Department in addressing deforestation in Phalombe.

A total of one million trees are expected to be planted in the district in this year's Forestry Season whose theme is “Conserve trees and forests to moderate climate change”.  - Zodiak Online

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0 #3 Phalombe 2012-02-22 09:16
The official figure is 101. When you come to Phalombe you will see that we have constructed a memorial pilar where all the 101 names are written.
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0 #2 Mlomwe_Wa_Mbeu 2012-02-20 20:03
Peter Nkosi, I agree with you that the author of the article should check the figure/number of people that died. The incident happened while I was at Phalombe Boma on the day of that disaster and a Member of Bokosi village, I always disappointed when even government fail to provide real figure of people who were killed by the floods. The number is 700+ and not 500 nor 1000 because by that time the total population of the village was around 750. I will come back to you Peter with real figure, I have to consult the chief. Trust me
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0 #1 Peter Nkosi 2012-02-19 08:07
I am stunned! I have heard of the Phalombe Disaster, but had not realised that there had been such a huge loss of life. I do not recall anything being mentioned at the time on MBC or Daily Times to indicate that the disaster was so big.

Googling turned up this statement: "The 1991 Phalombe Landslide has been adequately researched on due to its devastating impacts, which included the loss of over 500 lives"

That is from a credible source:

http://etd.uovs.ac.za/ETD-db/theses/available/etd-09042008-072002/unrestricted/MsilimbaGGAC.pdf page 55/77, but it is a 7 Mb PDF which only mentions the disaster in passing. A faster link is:

http://forestpolicyresearch.com/2009/02/11/malawi-how-forest-loss-floods-have-turned-their-lives-into-reforestation/

Another article puts the death toll at over 1000: http://storiesonmalawi.blogspot.com/2008_11_17_archive.html

Does anyone have a credible link which describes what happened, and how the authorities reacted? Myself, I am not clever enough to find one.
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