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African nation of Malawi experiencing worst floods ever
02:13 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Workers in Malawi are using helicopters and boats to help rescue those cut off by deadly floods.

Conflicting accounts from the southeast African nation put the number killed at anywhere from dozens to more than 170.

In a statement, the government said that it had rescued more than 300 people by helicopter, and close to 1,300 were evacuated by boats.

“As of Sunday, most people who were stranded had been rescued,” the statement read. “But while more aggressive efforts are being made to provide people with essential relief assistance, there is still high need for more tents, food, kitchen utensils, essential medicines, dignity kits and water purifying chemicals, among others.”

The current flooding is because of weeks of heavy rain exacerbated by Tropical Cyclone Bansi, said Gift of the Givers, an African nongovernmental organization specializing in disaster response.

It said that 200,000 people had been displaced and 11,000 homes damaged. The U.N. humanitarian affairs agency, OCHA, put the number displaced at about 100,000.

Medecins San Frontiers, also known as Doctors Without Borders, said Friday that around 20,000 people in the country’s southern tip “remain cut off from the rest of the country without food, health care and ways to prevent possible outbreaks.”

The floods have destroyed crops and swept away their meager possessions, raising fears for the future once the waters recede.

Malawi, with a population of 13 million, is one of the poorest countries in the world.

CNN’s Nana Karikari-apau contributed to this report.