Taps run dry in Blantyre
Tropical Cyclone Freddy seems to have overshadowed the fight against diseases such as cholera, with over 51,000 cumulative cases registered so far. As ISAAC SALIMA writes, this is evident in Blantyre, where some people have gone three or so days without water.
Many parts of Blantyre have been experiencing dry taps for some days now.
Some areas have gone for four days without the precious liquid.
The development has culminated in some residents lamenting the situation.
Fred Kapwepwe, a resident of Machinjiri, said the situation puts them at risk of contracting diseases such as cholera.
“Some of us do not have pit latrines and stay in big families. This means, without water, chances of catching waterborne diseases such as cholera are high,” he said.
One of the Tropical Cyclone Freddy survivors at Naotcha in Chilobwe, who identified herself as Ruth, said people who are in camps are in need of water.
“Water is needed, especially in camps where cyclone survivors are being sheltered,” she said.
Blantyre has a number of cyclone survivor camps, including Naotcha and Manja.
“We have had no water from Saturday. The situation is dire as we are prompted to look for it [water] from unprotected sources,” Moffat Gama from Zingwangwa said.
And Ester George from Lunzu said that they have been relying on rain water for use.
“We last had water on Friday and, since then, we have been relying on rain water because of continued rains we were having.
“However, now that the rains have stopped, we are in trouble,” George said.
Blantyre Water Board (BWB) has since attributed the problem to blackouts, saying workers there are failing to pump enough water for distribution.
BWB Chairperson Joel Ching’ani said they are making efforts to resume uninterrupted supply of the precious liquid.
“Our supply has been interrupted by power outages we have been experiencing since the onset of the cyclone. We are failing to pump water from our stations for distribution,” Ching’ani said.
He further said damage to supply pipes in residential areas has also contributed to the problem. He was quick to say that they are releasing their water bowsers to residents.
BWB Chief Executive Officer Robert Hanjahanja concurred.
He added that they were forced to close their Mulanje- Likhubula water supply line after suspecting water contamination.
“We were forced to close our pumping station from Mulanje after noting that the water was coming with a strange colour. And that also worsened the problem but, after conducting our tests, the water is just okay and we have resumed supply,” Hanjahanja said.