6,000 flood victims risk cholera in Mzuzu


Almost 6,000 victims of flash floods in Mzuzu City risk contracting cholera as government has not yet provided them with sanitation facilities to be used at the five camps where they are seeking shelter.

The victims have stayed in camps at Kauwa Primary School, New Jerusalem Private Primary School, Mbawemi Orphan Care, NAPHAM offices and Lwangwa Superette for four days without enough toilets, potable water and other basic necessities.

Heavy rains that have been falling in Mzuzu City for a week, caused the floods and many houses collapsed in the townships of Masasa, Mchengautuba, Chibavi Salisbury Line, Katawa Zolozolo, Msongwe and Chibanja. As of Sunday, six people were reported dead after their houses fell on them and Mzuzu City Council says a total of 1,265 houses have collapsed.


The Daily Times visit at Kauwa, Mbawemi and New Jerusalem camps, discovered that the condition was worse as the places do not have enough toilets, washing rooms and potable water. However, it was discovered that two police officers have been deployed to each camp to provide security to the victims.

“We are going to follow our relatives whom we buried over the weekend because we know that we are also going to die because of waterborne diseases. Here we are over 150 people and we are sleeping in the same church block together with men and children which means our rights to privacy have also been compromised.

“We sometimes use that Kauwa Primary School toilet and with the resumption of school lessons today [yesterday], we don’t know what will happen. We might die of cholera while government is watching us,” said Group Village Headwoman Thula.


And Mzuzu Council Chief Executive Officer Macloud Kadammanja confirmed the fear of cholera as the victims are living miserable lives without proper sanitation.

“We have more problems and we cannot manage [to help them]. Some victims are staying with their friends and relatives in small houses. The condition is bad and we are likely to see cases of cholera if no intervention comes. There is no hygiene in the camps and in some houses,” Kadammanja said.

He said government through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs has not yet donated anything to the victims apart from Minister of Defence, Jappie Mhango, who donated K100,000 and Mzuzu Lions Club which gave blankets, salt, maize, clothes and other things on Saturday.

Kadammanja, therefore, said the absence of sanitation materials has forced them to establish a committee under Water and Sanitation to borrow plastic toilets from other institutions within Mzuzu which can be mounted in the four camps.

Secretary in the Office of the Vice President under Department of Disaster Management Affairs, Ben Botolo, admitted that less has been done on sanitation arguing it is the responsibility of Mzuzu City Council.

“It is not us, as a department, providing sanitation materials at the camps. Our mandate is to collect the data and release a report which comprises the necessary needs. Our office has already sent an officer to collect the data and we have sent it to the partners who are willing to assist. If people have no temporally toilets then blame the city council,” he said.

An emergency full council meeting that was held on yesterday did not give proper recommendation on how the council would assist the victims on sanitation matters. The council only resolved to relocate the people who are settled in land slide prone areas to avoid further disasters.

Vice president, Saulos Chilima, is expected to visit the camps on today.

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