Standard Bank - BOL to Wallet

Govt Yet to Rehabilitate 3 Gravity-Fed Systems in Thyolo

Scores of people in rural areas of Thyolo are drinking water from unprotected sources due to government's delays in rehabilitating three gravity-fed water systems and boreholes damaged by cyclone Freddy eight months ago.

Apart from rendering destitute thousands of people in Thyolo, the cyclone Freddy also damaged the district's four gravity-fed water systems and 150 boreholes in March this year.

However, eight months down the line, the government through the Malawi Resilience and Disaster Risk Management Project (MRDRMP) has just commenced the rehabilitation of one system, Sakhulani gravity-fed system with funding from the World Bank.

And according to Thyolo district water development officer, Evance Phiri, this is due to financial constraints, urging other WASH partners to come in.

"So far, the contractor is there at Sakhulani is recovering what was damaged, for example pipes, intake and tanks. We are making an urgent call to other WASH partners to help in rehabilitating the systems like Didi, Limphangwi and Mvomoni," he said.

Meanwhile, Phiri added that Self Help Africa and the Red Cross have helped to maintain only 37 boreholes out of 150 which were damaged.

On his part, Senior Chief Mphuka whose Didi and Limphangwi water supply systems were damaged, has urged the government to act with speed to rehabilitate the systems, saying the delay is exposing his subjects to long distances and water-borne diseases.

"We should expect cholera to affect us if we are not careful. Currently, other areas have no water points and our people are fetching water in shallow wells. This is the reason we are calling on the government to help in fixing the water infrastructure, otherwise we are in trouble," Senior Chief Mphuka pleaded.

According to Thyolo district council, each damaged water system might need about K200 million to rehabilitate at a time the district council is receiving around K80 million for all water services annually.

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