Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana tweeted: “Evacuation is currently under way in Chimanimani as the government prioritises residents' safety in case Chalane hits the area with a devastating effect.”
Chimanimani member of parliament Joshua Sacco said the ministry of health had provided clinics with medicine and there were teams on standby to rescue people if they were stranded on the roads. He advised people to avoid travelling to areas where the storm was expected to hit hard.
Schools and churches in the danger zones have been offered as shelter to those evacuated. The government said it has availed $30m (R439.8m) for disaster response.
The country’s fourth-largest city Mutare was also been put on high alert.
“People in low-lying areas of Mutare such as Zimta and Bernwin and those living in temporary accommodation such as Federation and Kimboki are being advised to find alternative accommodation before disaster strikes,” read a statement from the municipality.
The meteorological services department (MSD) said on Monday the incoming storm could be as powerful as Cyclone Dineo of 2007.
Dineo destroyed an estimated 20,000 homes in Mozambique and Zimbabwe, displacing at least 130,000 people. It led to widespread flooding in Zimbabwe’s Mutare, Chiredzi and Beitbridge, floods in Botswana and a cholera outbreak that hit Malawi and Mozambique.
Malawi’s department of disaster management affairs said the country was prepared to respond to the storm.