By Loness Gwazanga:
Minister of Water and Sanitation, Abida Mia has assured residents of Bangwe Township in Blantyre that they will have access to piped water by October this year as a way of curbing Cholera which has hit the area hard due to lack of potable water.
Mia who was accompanied by Deputy Minister of Health, Enock Phale made the revelation on Wednesday in Blantyre when she visited Nkhukuteni Village in the township to appreciate the water struggle the residents are experiencing amidst the outbreak.
She said it was pathetic that people in the area were being forced to buy water from unprotected water sources most of which were close to toilets while others were drawing water from a nearby stream which was also very unsafe.
“It is a sorry situation to see that people here do not have piped water. They are buying water from the wells and not sure whether the water is safe. We have asked the authorities to test and check the water quality to see if it is safe for human consumption.
“To solve this problem, we will be sending them two water bowsers per day and by October, Blantyre Water Board will be here with piped water. Additionally, when connecting water here there will be free connections and as for the kiosks on the other side of Bangwe, we have put their bills aside until January so that people get clean water,” said Mia.
On her part, Village Head Nkhukuteni described the minister’s visit as timely and hoped she will take the matter seriously and address it with urgency.
“Most people cannot afford to buy water from the wells due to economic hardships and as a result, they opt to draw water from the stream which is unsafe. The minister has seen the situation and I hope she acts as soon as possible,” she said.
In his remarks, Phale commended authorities at all levels in the district for working tirelessly to contain the disease.
Phale assured of government’s commitment in completely curbing the disease by providing all the necessary support so that health workers do their job well.
Earlier, Mia and Phale also visited Bangwe Health Centre to appreciate how Cholera cases were being managed and they both expressed satisfaction.
Since Cholera was declared an outbreak in March this year, Blantyre district has topped the list with 550 confirmed cases from townships such as Mbayani, Chilomoni, Bangwe and Machinjiri and so far, 22 deaths have been recorded.