Malawi Red Cross Society on Monday donated a K4 million speed boat to Likoma District Red Cross Society Division to assist the district in disaster response.
Speaking in an interview after the donation, Malawi Red Cross Society Youth and Resource Mobilization Manager, Leonard Maganga said his organization decided to donate the speed boat because Likoma Island is hard to reach.
“Issues to do with maternal health need urgent attention hence the donation of the speed boat to ease transport problem to refer mothers to referral hospitals,” he said.
Maganga said sometimes passenger boats develop faults on the lake and the boat will be there in rescue operations.
“It is our plea that Likoma Red Cross Society Division should take care of the speed boat and use for the intended purpose,” he advised.
Likoma District Red Cross Society Division Patron, who is also District Commissioner, Charles Mwawembe applauded Malawi Red Cross Society for the donation which he said is timely.
“As patron of the organization I’m very excited with the donation. These are the things we are looking for as a district. If you want to travel to mainland, we need speed boats like this one,” he said.
“MV Ilala operates two days a week and it means five days you are locked either in mainland or inland which is pathetic as many people rely on mainland to buy things,” Mwawembe said.
The only reliable water transport to and from the island are Malawi Shipping Company vessels MV Ilala and sometimes Chambo.
To this effect, he said, the speed boat will ease transport problems for referral cases from Chizumulu Island to St Peters Mission Hospital on Likoma Island and also to mainland hospitals.
“This donation will greatly make a difference in the district,” he said.
The speed boat was bought with fund from TNM and Old Mutual after the 2016 floods that hit Karonga and Mzuzu City.