BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) - Heavy flooding in Malawi has killed 48 people, and left another 23,000 displaced, the country's president said Tuesday.
President Peter Mutharika declared 10 out of 28 districts in the country disaster zones.
Some of the victims died when villages were flooded in the southern Mangoche district, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of the commercial capital, Blantyre, according to Grey Mkwanda, a district planning officer. Livestock, crops and homes were swept away by floodwaters, with some homes completely submerged.
"People have fled into schools and churches on the higher ground, others are in the open because there is not enough space," Mkwanda said.
Others died in Blantyre when their homes collapsed, according to Mkwanda.
"In some cases you cannot believe there was a house here," said Allan Ngumya, a member of parliament who represents the area.
Police are also looking for two children who went missing in Blantyre, police spokesman Elizabeth Divala said.
Mutharika has appealed to the international community for assistance for the impoverished country.
"Government alone cannot afford to help so I appeal to the international community for urgent assistance," he said.
Officials were unable to visit the affected areas because of continuing poor weather.
Flooding began last month and heavy rain is expected to continue, especially in the north and central parts of the country, according to Elina Kululanga, the director of meteorological services and climate change.