Malawi’s Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima has issued a stern warning to people who are constructing houses in restricted areas.
Chilima was speaking after visiting areas surrounding Soche and Ndirande Hills which were severely affected by flash floods in 2015.
“It is even more risky to reside right on the hill because heavy rains can strike anytime and destroy lives and property.”
“This is definitely a disaster in the making,” warned Chilima, who is also Minister of Disaster Management Affairs.
The VP also noted with concern that utility providers Electricity Supply Cooperation of Malawi (ESCOM) as well as Blantyre Water Board (BWB) are providing services to illegal settlers.
“It is very unfortunate that these two parastatals are rendering services to these people.”
“We really need to collaborate as government entities otherwise people will continue destructing our forests and this will have a huge bearing on the environment,” Chilima added.
Deputy Director for the Department of Town Planning, Matthews Mwadzangati told YFM online that the VP’s visit was a wake up call.
He said they will soon engage the two utility providers to strategize on how best they can collaborate to end the crisis before it is too late.
“In 2012 we embarked on a project to vacate the encroachers from the hill but the chief for the area was displeased with the idea because he was benefitting after selling the piece of land uphill.
We took him to task and he got convicted but after he was freed he ganged up with his people and took an injunction so this affected the whole exercise,” added Mwadzangati.
In 2015 Malawi was hardly hit by flash floods which affected the southern region districts killing over 170 people.