Senior Chief Mlolo
* Appeals for wellwishers to help her clear out her debt with canoeists she engaged
*More than 2,000 people are displaced from which 998 have so far been repatriated
* At K250 each she owes the boatmen K249,500 and he figure is likely to go up
* If the fuel problem persist, the ferrying will continue ferrying that will cost about M600,000 in total
By Duncan Mlanjira
As the situation became dire for stranded flood victims in Nsanje, Senior Chief Mlolo is being forced to use her personal funds to pay for flood victims to be repatriated by canoes as there is no fuel for engine boats since access road to her area in East Bank is impassable.
In her appeal for assistance, the Nsanje North Senior Chief said they expected government, through the District Commissioner’s office and Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), to provide the engine boats but lack of fuel prompted her to engage local canoeists to do the job.
“Government, through the office of the DC, was supposed to repatriate these people through engine boats but unfortunately there was no fuel and I resolved in using the men with boats who charge K500 per person,” she said.
“We managed to negotiate with them to ferry the victims at K250 each since this is an emergency and they accepted. I promised to pay these people by Wednesday, 2nd February, 2022.”
She reports that more than 2,000 people are displaced from which 998 have so far been repatriated to a camp where they slept on Sunday night.
“For the 998 people, it is coming up to K249,500. The figure is likely to go up because more people are still to be repatriated.
“If the fuel problem persist, we will continue ferrying the people by this means and these shall mean that we need about M600,000 in total.”
She thus appeals to wellwishers to join her humanitarian efforts to help clear out the debt she has with the canoeists.
“In addition to cash donations, you may also help us with materials like food, clothes, beddings, kichen utensils, water guard, soaps etc.
“I further call upon those with expertise in counselling to come and help the victims with counseling sessions as most of them are affected psychologically. Our children cannot consentrate in class in the absence of this provision.”
She said the donations should be forwarded to Ireen Mmenya, the area’s ACPC chairperson on +265 994 85 25 25 and for those who may wish to visit the flood victims’ camp for assessment can use the Thyolo-Muona Road.
“For transparency sake, please send a text or whatsApp of your reference to 0999870699,” she said. “Please reach out to us with speed in these devastating moments. Your urgent help is needed.”
The devastation caused by Tropical Cyclone Ana, which hit the country hard on January 24-25, caused floods in most parts of the Southern Region, destroyed roads, bridges, homes and electricity power lines and many other structures.
The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has since described Cyclone Ana as the biggest disaster to hit Malawi, saying it is worse than Cyclone Idai which hit the nation in 2020.
The Department’s Commissioner, Charles Kalemba said the rain caused by Tropical Cyclone Ana registered over 400 millimeters in 24 hours that caused a lot of damage to houses, roads and infrastructure while Cyclone Idai registered about 250 millimeters of rain in three days.
Kalemba applauded well-wishers who are coming forward to help people who have been displaced and are living in camps.
“I must say since the President declared as state of disaster in the districts that have been affected by the floods and heavy rains, we have received positive response from well-wishers,” he told Malawi News Agency (MANA).
He also commended Malawi Government, Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS), Malawi Relief Fund-UK and Gift of the Givers for their assistance from the day the cyclone hit the area.
Kalemba further said there is need for roads to be reconstructed as soon as possible so that transportation of relief items could be eased as currently, DoDMA is using boats and aeroplanes to transport relief items.
Malawi Red Cross Society, Malawi Relief Fund UK, Gift of the Givers and several other have already arrived in affected areas for their assistance since the day the cyclone hit the Lower Shire, the hardest hit.
Malawi Red Cross Society director of programmes, Prisca Chisala told MANA that they have managed to distribute tents, buckets, soap, and CoVID-19 protective gears to the affected to help ease the situation and is also working with government in the search and rescue operation for those missing.
Currently, 107,000 households have been affected, 25 have died, three people are missing and 1,150 people have been injured.
The most affected districts are Chikwawa, Nsanje, Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Mulanje, Phalombe, Zomba, Machinga, Mangochi, Ntcheu, Dedza and Mchinji.