The continuing heavy rains in Karonga have resulted in the flooding of Paladin’s Kayerekela Uranium Mine tailing dams, a development that has sent shivers of apprehension among water users in the district.
The dams empty into the Sere River which feeds into the Rukuru River and the Lake Malawi.
Ironically, the people of Karonga currently drink from the Lake through the Garnet Halliday Water Project which Paladin Africa Limited (PAL) instituted a couple of years back to curb water hurdles.
While PAL management is mum on the issue, some employees of the mine have cautioned the communities around “to stop drinking water Rivers Sere and Rukuru and Lake Malawi.”
At an interface meeting organised by Church and Society of the Synod of Livingstonia chairperson of the Karonga community which consists 9 villages, Chilirani Gondwe, said some resident were planning on leaving their villages.
“There is panic due to reports that we’re drinking uranium contaminated water,” said Gondwe.
According to Gondwe, it is impossible for them to confirm the development considering strict entry arrangements.
In remarks, the Project Coordinator for Advocacy Campaign for Inclusive Extractive Industry in Malawi under the Church and Society in the Synod of Livingstonia Paul Mvula asked the office of the District Commissioner (DC) to establish an investigation on the matter since it has power to inspect the mine.
“As an organization, we know that neither the community nor us have the right to inspect the Kayerekela Uranium Mine Site apart from the office of the District Commissioner, therefore we are appealing to the DC to come up with a committee to carry out an investigation before the community decide badly,” pleaded Mvula.
He further said “concerned authorities should not underrate this issue by regarding it as hearsays.”
Karonga DC Rosemary Moyo assured the District Civil Protection Committee during an emergency meeting on Wednesday that she will send some people to the site to carry out an investigation.
“I have also heard these rumors but as an office we are yet to know the truth. However, I will send a team to investigate the matter, and I am calling on the community to be calm,” said Moyo.
Paladin Africa Limited is yet to respond to the development as its officials’ phones were out of reach.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :