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Damage takes toll in Karonga rain disaster

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Over 1,200 houses have been damaged in stormy rains in six villages in the area of Traditional Authority Kyungu in Karonga district, a heavy toll compared to last year when floods wreaked havoc in the flood-prone area.

Disaster Risk Management Officer Walusungu Mwafulirwa who chairs the District Civil Protection Committee in the district said a total of 1,246 houses have been damaged in the torrential downpour that has characterised Karonga in the last week of January.

He said the area of Group Village Head Zindi is the worst hit with 141 houses collapsing, 195 partially damaged while four toilets have collapsed.

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Mwafulirwa said the area of Group Village Head Mwahimba has recorded the highest number of partially damaged houses, officially pegged at 359.

Mweniyumba has 195 partially damaged houses whilst Katolera has 121 partially damaged houses.

“The district has not yet witnessed flooding but the extent of damage is worse than that recorded at around the same time last year,” said Mwafulirwa.

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The heavy toll comes at a time authorities are failing to establish evacuation centres to ease the suffering of victims of the rain disaster.

Department of Disaster Management Affairs spokesperson Jeremiah Mpande recently told The Daily Times that resources for the exercise have been invested in dykes to curb flooding.

Ironically, there has been no incident of flooding in the district this year.

According to Mphande, the new arrangement aims to avert disasters through pre-cautionary measures.

“Apparently, no one has complained to our department through the councils that they are in dire need of shelter, people continue to seek refuge from friends and relatives as we continue to provide them with the basic necessities,” said Mphande.

Karonga District is one of the country’s disaster hotspots where hundreds of people are rendered homeless annually due to heavy rains leading to flooding.

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