Leadership for Environment and Development (Lead) has commended communities in three flood-prone districts of the Southern Region for sustaining their tree-planting projects.
Lead Executive Director, Sostin Chiotha, said he was impressed with how villagers in Machinga, Nsanje and Chikwawa districts had looked after the trees planted along river banks.
“We embarked on a tree-planting exercise with communities in the three districts in 2008. After all these years, we did not expect them to be as enthusiastic as they are in looking after the trees we planted with them,” Chiotha explained.
He said what pleased him most during a recent tour of the three districts was that the trees had grown big enough to accord river banks the protection needed in times of floods.
Chiotha noted that with the onset of the rainy season, rivers in the three districts require trees to protect their banks from bursting.
“When river banks have no trees, it is easy for floods to occur and affect the livelihoods of the people. But with what we have seen during our tour of the districts, the danger of floods will be minimised because the trees that were planted are now fully grown and well looked after,” Chiotha said.
One of the villagers involved in the exercise, Dyna Vazhi of Osiyana Village in Nsanje District, said the need to continue planting the trees was necessitated by the effects of the floods that keep haunting them every year because of massive deforestation.
“We have seen the difference for ourselves from the time we took up the tree-planting exercise seriously. We have organised ourselves into village natural resources management committees and we are determined to keep planting and looking after the trees,” she said.
The three districts are some of the most flood-prone in the country and government has been campaigning to move people to safer areas.
The floods threat returns with weather forecasts stating that the country will have normal to above normal rainfall this growing season.
Lead has been working with communities in the three districts to minimise the effects of climate change resulting from deforestation.
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