Over 150 families from Mtauchila Village Traditional Authority Pemba in Salima have been displaced by massive floods from the nearby Lifidzi River which have destroyed dwelling homes, crops and the road network last Sunday.
According to Newton Chirambo, the District Meteorological Service Officer, the floods are a result of heavy rains that have persisted in the district and neighboring districts of Dedza and Lilongwe throughout the weekend.
Speaking to MANA on Monday, the Assistant District Disaster Risks Management Officer, Blessings Kamtema said the displaced people have been camped at Chikowa School Evacuation Center in the area of T/A Ndindi.
“The floods began on Saturday and escalated on Sunday to the extent that houses were submerged, a thing which led us to order a quick evacuation. And considering the situation, we have gone ahead to set this camp because the situation remains life threatening and we do not want to gamble,” said Kamtema.
Kamtema said that the district council has already sounded SOS to well wishers and its partners at district and national level to get assistance to support the camp.
“So far, we are able to mobilize resources within, we have response from Red Cross, COOPPI and indeed government sectors like Health and others that are in the Disaster Management Team,” said Kamtema.
He explained that as of Monday they were expecting more tents and food staff to be delivered at the camp from both government and partners.
Speaking in an Interview T/A Pemba said that he was touched with the disaster which has taken away hope from families that were a step away from the hunger situation resulted from last year’s drought.
“Although no person has died from the floods, we are shocked with the damage especially in our maize fields, you know these people were already facing food shortages and were relying on the crops to recover but the damage will be a setback,” said Pemba.
Life in the area has almost come to a standstill as almost everybody including the chief have moved to the camp until the situation gets better.
Director and Planning and Development (DPD), Earnest Kaphuka has thanked partners that have responded quickly to the disasters with various support.
Kaphuka has since said the council is working hard to ensure that the affected people are supported and their livelihoods are normalized as soon as possible.
This is the first time for Lifidzi River to flood in 4 years since 2013 when a number of projects were undertaken along the banks to minimize flooding. (By Watson Maingo, Salima, February 7, Mana)