21 September 2018
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Monday, 05 March 2018 16:30

Lilongwe Floods: Vice President Chilima sounds out warning against defiant river path dwellers

Written by  Trouble Ziba
THOSE HOUSES MUST GO: Chilima points out houses that must be demolished - Pic by Daniel Namwini THOSE HOUSES MUST GO: Chilima points out houses that must be demolished - Pic by Daniel Namwini

Lilongwe, March 5, 2018: The country’s Vice President, Dr Saulos Claus Chilima said on Monday government will not allow innocent people to suffer because of few selfish individuals who deliberately construct structures in risky areas.

Chilima was speaking when he visited 138 families at Mtandire in Lilongwe that were affected when Lingadzi River swelled and flooded following rains that have been falling for the past three days in the district.

Lingadzi River flooded starting Sunday evening. Due to structures that are constructed close to the river, some of the water in the flooding river was blocked forcing a big mass to stray into the settlement, washing away and destroying houses and household items including food.

So far, over 600 people have been affected from the 138 affected families and 12 houses have been destroyed.

“Last year, we were here to sympathize with families which were affected by floods that occurred that time. We had warned people against constructing houses in risky places, but it seems they do not heed the advice,” said Chilima.

“There are some people who construct their houses and brick fences along the river which is a water path. In the end, the structures block water, forcing it to stray into houses of innocent people making them suffer in the end,” he pointed out.

The Vice president cautioned that government will have no choice but to demolish all structures that have been constructed in wrong and risky places which is against laws of Lilongwe City Council.

“There are no laws that allow residents to construct houses in risky areas. Government will tell Lilongwe City Council to enforce its laws by demolishing houses that block water and make innocent people suffer,” said the Vice President.

Wherever the Vice President has gone to see the disaster situation, especially the floods, he has always warned Malawians against constructing in risky areas and advising them to settle in safer places to save their lives and property.

He said the country has gone through a number of floods, but observed that some of the effects of these floods could have been avoided if people had taken heed of government’s constant advice.

This reporter observed that due to the swelling of Lingadzi River, some houses that had been built close to the river had water flowing on both sides if not surrounded by it.

One of the victims, 51 year old Medson Longwe, whose house had flooded water passing by its doorstep at the time of Chilima’s visit, said when things are normal the river main stream flows about 300 metres away.

“In the past three days, the river has been swelling, and last night, we saw water flowing into the house. It went up to at least 60 centimetres high (about two feet), soaking a sofa set, flour and other items, fortunately there has been no loss of life,” said Longwe.

He added that altogether there were 10 children and dependants when the water ambushed them on the night of 4th and 5th February.

The Vice President said just because this time around there has not been any loss of life, people should not deliberately provoke the situation, warning that water is dangerous.

He donated some blankets and plastic pails to some affected families, pledging more relief assistance from government and its partners to reduce the shock on the affected families.