Lack of safe and potable water is a big problem in Kasungu East Constituency where over 80 villages draw water from swamps for domestic use, thereby exposing families to risks of getting infected with waterborne diseases.
The problem has also affected stability of families as women have to leave their husbands in the middle of the night and walk to the swamps where they queue for water.
The women are further exposed to animal attacks as the area has leopards, hyenas and jackals, according to Group Village Head Chipumba.
This was disclosed last week at an interface meeting organised by the National Initiative for Civic Education Trust (Nice) in Group Village Head Kapyanga in Kasungu East constituency.
“I have 47 villages and we all drink from Chintchinda dambo. Senior Group Kapyanga has over 30 villages and they also drink from other swamps. We leave our houses as early as 1 am and walk in small groups to draw water from the swamps.
“We always queue at the swamps. Our lives are in danger as this area has jackals, leopards and hyenas,” said Chipumba who added that she opts for swamp water as a borehole is six kilometres away from her house.
The four streams where the villagers draw water are Chintchinda, Liwala, Ndaula and Kanyautambe, according to Chipumba. She said sometimes men escort the women to the swamps for security reasons and also to dig out wells in the swamps.
One of the affected women, Bertha Mwale, 31, from Chim’bwabwa Village said she usually leaves her husband at 1am and joins other women to the swamps and returns home around 7 am with water. She does this once every two days.
“We find other women already in queues at the swamps. Women in this area are working like machines because we have no time to rest. Our resting time is when we are in the queue waiting for our turn because after drawing the water, we go to the garden and from there bathe children, clean the house, cook and then attend to other issues and prepare for the evening meal,” said Mwale.
Member of Parliament for the area, Madalitso Kazombo, described his constituency as the worst in Kasungu, as far as water problems are concerned.
He disclosed that government has given the constituents K7 million for drilling of one borehole per ward in the constituency.
The legislator then appealed to the people to be patient as all problems in the area cannot be solved at once.
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