Heavy rains displace hundreds in Mzuzu
Hundreds of people have been displaced by a heavy downpour in Mzuzu City, following rains that fell from Saturday to Monday.
In Chibavi Township, for example, councillor Gabriel Mwaungulu said over 30 houses have collapsed.
Mwaungulu said over 200 houses are submerged.
He added that most of the affected people have nowhere to be housed, thus they are still living in semi-dilapidated houses.
“This is a dangerous situation because the houses can collapse any time but the affected people have nowhere to go and they are still staying in the damaged houses. It’s a ticking bomb. What we are asking for at the moment is shelter, food and Chlorine,” he said.
The Chibavi West Ward Councillor added that the water table for the area has risen, raising fears of the upsurge of waterborne diseases such as cholera.
Area Development Committee Chairperson Adams Ngulube, whose house is submerged, said this is his first time to experience such a phenomenon.
Ngulube, whose house lies about half a kilometre from Lunyangwa River, said he has been staying at the place since 2006.
“I have lost almost everything in the house. My sofa set, computers, food, beds and mattresses, clothes; they are all socked in water. You can imagine that, from Sunday, I have been sleeping in the kitchen by the fire. It’s terrible but I am ready to relocate to another area if the city sees it fit that the area is no longer habitable,” he said.
Another survivor, Patricia Nyirenda, who stays with six other people, said she is living in fear as part of her house has collapsed.
“There is only one casualty in the house who was hit by bricks when the wall was collapsing. We wish we could relocate to another place but we do not have that place and that is why we are still here,” she said.
Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) Director of Disaster Response and Recovery Moses Chimphepo said they will move quickly to assist those that would need food items.
“Normally, we conduct an assessment to learn about the extent of the damage but be assured that we are going to respond. We will also touch base with the city council to see how we can support those that are homeless,” he said.
As we went to press, Dodma had not yet released a preliminary report highlighting damage caused by the heavy rains.
Meanwhile, the Department of Meteorological Services has predicted that strong Mwera winds will persist over water bodies like Lake Malawi until Tuesday, causing rough waters and high waves.