Double tragedy in Balaka: rainstorms; fall armyworms cause havoc
Presidency assures affected families of unrelenting support
DoDMA provides relief items
A cumulative total of 698 households have been critically affected by rainstorms and strong winds that struck most parts of Traditional Authorities Kachenga, Msamala, Sawali, and Nkaya in Balaka District; on Tuesday.
Adding salt to injury, the rampant fall armyworms have affected 19,000 of the 53,000 cultivated hectares of land, representing a total of 39 per cent.
Briefing the Vice President and Minister responsible for Disaster Management Affairs Dr. Saulos Chilima, Balaka District Commissioner Rodrick Mateauma said the affected households require immediate assistance of food, blankets, kitchen utensils and pesticides.
“ With the help of government and some non-governmental organisations, we have managed to source 1,000 litres of pesticides but, your honour, we are in need of a total of 25,000 litres to counter the fall armyworms,” said Mateauma of the double tragedy.
Addressing the affected people at Makuta Primary School after visiting most of the areas, Chilima said the presidency will not relent in providing assistance to the affected households.
“My coming signifies the commitment the presidency has to ensuring that you get the much needed assistance. Be assured that the current administration will be with you throughout the tough experiences,” said Chilima.
He ordered that Mai Roben, an elderly woman who sustained injuries as a result of the rainstorms, gets the best of medical attention.
The Vice President then called upon farming families affected by the influx of fall armyworms to take on board advice provided by agricultural experts and pleaded with the communities to plant trees in their surroundings as one way of protecting their households from damaging strong winds and rainstorms.
Apart from damaging the households, the rainstorms also blew off a four class-roomed school block at Makuta Primary School.
Meanwhile, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has provided relief items to the affected households.
Chief Relief and Rehabilitation Officer Fyawupi Mwafongo said 698 bags of maize, 1396 pieces of blankets, 2792 plastic plates, 3490 plastic cups, 698 pails, 700kg of salt and 7,000 metres of plastic sheets for temporary roofing; were distributed to the affected families on Friday.
Member of Parliament for the area [Balaka North] Lucius Banda has described DoDMA’s move as ‘a rapid response to tragedy.’