Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is also Minister responsible for Disaster Affairs, Thursday, took a swipe at the Mzuzu City Council (MCC) and other government departments for negligence that is leading to occurrence of some natural disasters
Chilima, who visited some of the disaster-stricken households in the city, wondered why council authorities are failing to prevent some of the disasters before they occur.
He particularly expressed displeasure with the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) for erecting electric poles close to people’s houses.
Chilima said it is shocking that council authorities do not fell old trees which continue to pose danger to the people.
“These are simple things, this is an obvious disaster. You are putting lives of people in danger; gentlemen you do not need someone from Lilongwe or Blantyre to come and show you that this is dangerous and that you should cut down the old trees,” Chilima said.
He added: “This simply shows that someone is sleeping on the job and it is not acceptable.
Natural disasters, yes; but we have ourselves to blame for some of these things. So, this kind of laxity and negligence [has] got to stop.”
The Vice-President expressed shock that some of the poles and electric wires that were damaged by the rains a week ago were still resting on rooftops.
He then challenged councils and other relevant agencies to rise above the occasion and protect people from disasters by enforcing laws.
Chilima reiterated that the recurrence of urban disasters remains an issue of concern to the government as people continue to construct houses in disaster-prone areas such as in the middle of rivers and drainage channels.
“I am personally not happy with just talking and showing nothing at the end of the day. Follow what the laws stipulate and do your work. We have to be a disciplined nation,” he said.
MCC Mayor, Councillor William Mkandawire, attributed the mess to con t roversy surrounding land ownership within the city.
“Council is committed to reallocating routine victims of disasters, but land remains a problem because we have multiple landlords, like the Department of Land, the Malawi Housing Corporation and the city council. We ask the government to sanitise the Department of Land,” Mkandawire said.
After the visit, Chilima donated relief items such as maize, blankets and plastic pails to the 280 affected households in the city from the Department of Disaster Management Affairs.
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