Over 5000 flood victims leave camps, return home

Over 5 000 flood victims in Chikwawa have left camps where they have been staying for the past three months since the heavy rains and flooding displaced them and have returned to their homes.

Life in relief camp: One of the flood victims preparing vegetables at Bangula ADMARC Camp in Nsanje-(c) Abel Ikiloni, Mana

Disaster affairs officer for Chikwawa Francis Kadzokota said the flood victims have to go back to start a new life altogether saying camps could not be taken as permanent homes.

“They are now rebuilding their homes as well as their lives,” said Kadzokota.

The floods killed over 60 people and displaced over 20, 000 people in 13 districts.

Government says it needs K277 million for a robust resettlement program for flood victims across the country but minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi says donors are yet to honour their pledges.

Dausi said flood victims are supposed to be returning to their homes but they need construction materials and other things basic things to make them start a new lease of life.

“We are asking donors to fulfill their pledges. I know that countries like Germany are interested in the reconstruction program. The government is doing all it can because we are not receiving any money from the donors on the resettlement program,” he said.

He said the government is asking those wishing to leave the camps and go back to their homes do so voluntarily.

The minister said out of the K32 billion budget for the whole flood victims’ recovery program, only K7 billion was made available.

The minister’s comments come barely a day after some people in Chikwawa say they will not leave their homes for upper-land unless the government gives them fertile land and implement a proper relocation plan.

Village headman Machilika from Ngabu in the district told government officials that they would not allow to relocate to a barren land, leaving the fertile land although it is in disaster prone area.

“We cannot abandon the fertile land. If the government is serious enough to relocate us, identify another fertile land then we will oblige,” he said.

District Commissioner for Chikwawa,  Lusungu Nhlane, said the government has already identified the land and is in the process of finalizing the relocation process.

The flood victims also complained of lack of food in camps, lack of construction materials as well as malaria outbreak.

The district commissioner said a malaria vaccine campaign will roll out in the camps next week and the government and other partners will source the other relief items needed.

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