By Synd Kalimbuka
Traditional leaders in Zomba have expressed concern over the increase in number of people affected by hunger in the district, saying villagers are relying on mangoes to survive.
Sub-Traditional Authority Chimbalanga of the district appealed to government for assistance when chiefs in the area had a courtesy call with Deputy Presidential Advisor on Religious Affairs Sheikh Hasim Abasi at Tille Community Day Secondary school in the district.
STA Chimbalanga said most households in his area go to bed on empty stomach because they have nothing to eat.
“People in my area are relying on green mangoes for food before going to bed due to hunger that has affected many families in the district,” STA Chimbalanga said.
Hunger has also hit hard in other areas such as Sub T/A Nkapita, T/A Ngwelero, T/A Mbiza and part of T/A Mwambo in the district.
People in these areas are calling for assistance from government and other partners to rescue them from the hunger situation.
During the meeting, Sub T/A Chimbalanga thanked President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera for appointing son of his area Sheikh Hashim Abasi as Deputy Presidential Advisor on Religious Affairs saying he has honoured people in the area and the entire district.
He further asked the Chakwera led government to consider rehabilitation of roads, bridges, provision of water systems and improvement of health services in the district.
On his part, Sheikh Hahim Abasi assured people in the area that he will present their concerns to the president Chakwera.
Abasi who described Chakwera as a listening president urged chiefs to work with the government saying it is only means of bringing development to the area.
He also called on people in the district to get united regardless of their political and religious differences.
“Let’s all get together and develop our nation especially this district and area. We should also forget our differences on politics because that time is now over,” said Abasi.
On hunger situation, Abasi assured them that government will consider them in its hunger response programme.
In a separate interview, District Commissioner for Zomba Dr. Smart Gwedemula said the district is waiting for Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report which is currently on validation stage to capture all figures per district.
“MVAC validation team was here last week for the process and after completion in all districts, government and partners will start start response programme in the affected districts,” said Gwedemula.
He also advised affected Community leaders in the district to report any case related to hunger to his office so that the council can link up with partners for assistance.
Over 15, 000 households were affected by hunger last year in Zomba district.