Unsafe water putting people at risk in Phalombe

Thousands of people in Phalombe district are still drinking unsafe water from contaminated wells.

People from Traditional Authority Namasoko had hopes that clean water in the year of 2021 would never be a problem but is not the case now as the Phalombe Major project which would have brought safe water stalled and they are hopeless.

“We do not have running water taps, boreholes are miles away, the best option we see is fetching water from this place, we have been drinking from this place for a while now, where else would we get safe and clean water?” asked Felister Matiyasi who comes from Nahipa Village in T/A Namasoko.

A woman draws water from unsafe well

Felister said she wakes up early in the morning whenever they need water for drinking because when the sun rises the stagnant water become dirty because of livestock such as cattle and goats that drink from the same dam.

The said pit was dug by Mota Engil, a construction company that was constructing Chiradzulu-Migowi-Chiringa road who were taking gravel from the site and they left unleveled area which accumulates water during rainy.

Liny Lupiya said people in the village have been complaining about rising cases of diarrhea because of this unclean and unsafe water which they consume but they do not know what to do now as the installation of piped water project which stopped three years ago left them hopeless.

“There is nowhere we could be drawing the water apart from this area, look the water is unsafe as we have to share it with livestock, our friends who are cultivating tobacco on the other side they also depend here to irrigate their seedlings.

“Look at this water, it’s motionless, all the germs and bacteria are here, when we take it for usage at home we don’t even treat it, if that water project had not stopped then maybe by we would be accessing safe water,” she said.

Area Development Committee (ADC) Chairperson for Namasoko Alfred Mlokonene said they have been lobbying for boreholes through Constituency Development Fund (CDF) but nothing has been done so far.

“Our people here drink from this pit, they wash their clothes using the same water, in short let me say we use this water for all the domestic works,” he said.

He added that they were expecting that by now they would have piped water which Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (FISD) was working on after being contracted by Malawi government.

Director of Water Supply and Resources Emma Mbalame said the case of Phalombe Major Project and FISD is currently being handled by Ministry of Justice.

“This case it is no longer on our table since there were some misunderstandings between government and the contractor. Currently the Ministry of Justice is handling the matter,” she said.

Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) Programmes Officer responsible for Economic Governance Benard Mphepo said the rights of people are being infringed by not giving them the access to portable and safe water in the district.

“We all understand that the project was being implemented through a loan which government obtained and people in the country including those from this area are expected to pay back through taxes.

“It is very unfortunate that the matter is failing to be resolved, it is sad that money which we borrowed from Africa Development Bank has not been benefitted by people from Phalombe,” he said.

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