Fire razes down a village in Zomba, 61 houses gutted

An uncontrollable fire razed 61 houses at Frank Village in Zomba on Sunday seriously injuring one person and damaging property worth thousands of kwachas.

298 people including children and the elderly have been affected and some of them are sleeping on the bare ground while others are being accommodated at their friends’ and relatives’ homes.

The fire is believed to have been started by children who were playing with fire around 12 noon at Ngotangota area across Lake Chirwa in the area of Sub Traditional Authority (TA) Nkumbira in Zomba has left hundreds of people homeless.

According to Zomba Police Station Officer-In-Charge (OC), Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Hasten Mathankie, who physically visited the area on Monday afternoon, one person who was trying to rescue his property sustained dry burns on the right face and arm.

He said three quarters of the affected women are on Anti Retrial Viral Treatment (ART) and have lost all their drugs they had just received a week ago from Zomba District Health Office (DHO) mobile clinic.

The OC said the fire extended rapidly since the houses were made up with tree poles, bamboos and grass which fishermen use commonly known as Zimbowera.

“It was a windy day and the fire spread rapidly from one Chimbowera to another and it was difficult to stop it,” Mathankie pointed out.

Approximately, 298 people including children and the elderly have been affected and some of them are sleeping on the bare ground while others are being accommodated at their friends’ and relatives’ homes.

Zomba District Disaster Officer, Florence Harawa said the affected households have lost everything they had which included food, groceries, clothes, medical drugs, beddings, kitchen utensils, solar panels, bicycles and fishing nets.

She appealed to Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and other well-wishers to assist the victims as her office is waiting for a response from the Department of Disaster and Management Affairs (DoDMA).

Houses which were constructed using bricks, most of which fall under the Descent and Affordable Cement and Malata Subsidy Programme were not affected.

Ngotangota is a remote area that is reached by using a boat which costs K4, 000 per person, covering a distance of 65 kilometers from Kachulu.

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