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Community waits 50 years for potable water

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Although it may sound like a fairytale, people of Mgomwa area in Balaka have spent over five decades without any semblance of safe potable water due to government’s inefficiency and misplacement of priorities.

Ululation and cries of joy were in order last Saturday when Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (Cadecom), a development arm of the Catholic Church in Malawi, commissioned 15 boreholes to improve access to safe potable water in 16 villages of Mgomwa in the area of Traditional Authority Nkaya.

Speaking during the ceremony, Cadecom board chair, Jacob Mapemba, said Mgomwa is a rain shadow area characterized by erratic rainfall yearly and high day and night temperatures where women were walking long distances in search of water in rivers and swamps.

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“The only source of water around was Mulunguzi River which is perennial and people competed with domesticated animals to get the water and water-borne diseases were just many while on the other end, people were killed by crocodiles as they tried to get water from the Shire River,” Mapemba said.

Mapemba, who was accompanied by another Cadecom board member, former Chief Justice, Anastasia Msosa, said the area is also prone to flooding and hunger.

Vicar General of Mangochi Diocese, Father Andrew Nkhata, said denying people of the area access to potable water for so long has come at a heavy human and economical cost and the 15 boreholes will go a long way in addressing problems the community faced.

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“The church believes in the integral development of the whole person to live a dignified life and we believe structural injustice has failed the country. It should not have taken this long for people of Mgomwa to access potable water which basically is life,” Father Nkhata said.

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