The Lilongwe City Council chief executive officer, John Chome, has urged various stakeholders to come up with concerted and well-coordinated measures in response to the raging floods in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.
The country has, for the past few days, been receiving unprecedented rainfall patterns, in some cases lasting for two or more hours of continuous downpour.
In Lilongwe, the floods have resulted in loss of child’s life and a serious damage to property and public infrastructure such as bridges, fences of schools and pit latrines, among others.
The situation forced the Lilongwe Urban Disaster Team to convene an impromptu meeting on Monday (today) to devise mechanisms for responding to the needs of the households that have been affected by the floods.
The Urban Disaster Team comprises city management, the Malawi Police Service, the District Health Office, Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA), the Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS), the District Education Manager (DEM) and representation from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, among others.
And speaking at the meeting, Chome expressed concern with the weak coordination systems and structures in the transmission of disaster-related information to relevant stakeholders.
“The recent floods should give us a lesson so that next time we can plan in advance. We need to come up with concerted and well-coordinated mechanisms in addressing the problems arising from the floods,” he said.
Chome further asked the stakeholders to closely work together in sourcing food and non-food supplies for distribution to families that have been affected by the floods.
He said the assistance, so far, given to the households is not adequate.
In her presentation, the District Education Manager, Martha Sineta, said at least 50 of the 55 schools in Lilongwe Urban risk closure following the damage caused to school blocks and pit latrines.
Sineta cited Biwi, Chilinde, Chinsapo and Mswambeta Schools where pit latrines and fences have fallen while the roofs with asbestos tiles are heavily leaking due to the damage caused to the tiles.
“Where we have leaking classrooms, we will be forced to send the children home. And if there is no action taken, we may even be forced to close the schools until the rains are over,” she said.
Sineta pleaded with the stakeholders to find an immediate solution to the problem lest the children get denied of their right to education.
Poor state and impassability of most of the roads in the capital was another issue of concern to the stakeholders. They asked the Lilongwe City Council to find an immediate solution to the roads.
But an official from the Engineering Department told the meeting that renovating the roads while it is raining will cause even more damage; hence, there is need just to sensitise the public on safety measures they need to follow to prevent accidents.
The Lilongwe City Council deputy mayor, councillor Richard Banda, said in a separate interview that his Kaliyeka Ward has suffered extensive damage due to the floods and that many families need both food and non-food support.
Banda appealed to the churches, government, businesspersons and the development partners to come in with support towards the flood victims in his area.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :