People in the area of Senior Chief Mpherembe in Mzimba North leaped into the New Year on a sad note after a 30-tonne vehicle carrying relief food for starving families in the area was involved in a dangerous accident as it lost control and fell upside down into South Rukuru River.
According to Chief Mpherembe the truck, a scania registration number NB 3616, was too heavy for the old Chanolo Bridge which broke as the vehicle made its way through it thus sending the loaded machine into the water on its way to Chanolo Village on January 1, 2016.
“It should have been quite a fatal accident if there were passengers on it because the bridge literally broke and the driver struggled to control the vehicle until it fell into the water. A reasonable quantity of the food items has been soaked and rendered inedible which is a great loss to the people here,” said Mpherembe on Friday.
The local leader attributed the accident on the other hand to the aging 25 meter bridge which he said has outlived its usefulness in its 23 years of existence such that it could no longer stand the pressure exerted on it by heavy duty vehicles.
He called on officials from Plan Malawi International which is implementing the relief food project on behalf of World Food Programme (WFP) to rush to the scene to rescue the situation as by Saturday morning there still was no response from them.
The chief could also not quantify the soaked food items saying the vehicle was positioned awkwardly for any counting to be done. Meanwhile details and the condition of the driver remain unknown.
But Plan Malawi’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Response Manager Tambuzgani Msiska expressed ignorance on the accident when reached for comment on Friday evening and thus asked for some time to verify with his staff in the area.
Plan Malawi International has for the past month been reaching out to 41, 164 households in Mzimba who are faced with acute food shortage.
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