Flood-prone areas lack proper sanitation
Flood-prone settlements of Kabbe in Zambezi Region are at high risk of contracting waterborne diseases as the affected villagers in those settlements have no proper ablution facilities, and potable drinking water is a pipe dream.
Due to heavy flooding experienced in the Zambezi, many schools and villagers in Kabbe have been cut off, exposing people to harsh conditions, as they have to cross streams using dugout canoes, risking their lives to attacks from crocodiles lurking in the water.
Kabbe South Constituency Councillor John Likando confirmed the new development to New Era yesterday. He said the worse affected villages are Muzii, Mpukano, Namiyundu and Nankuntwe.
Likando who returned on Sunday from a week-long field visit to affected areas, said he was accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Health and Social Services, environmentalists and the Zambezi disaster risk management unit. He said they accessed 12 affected areas to check the general status of the villages. The issue of health is very serious, especially at Kasika and Muzii. He explained that Muzii is so isolated that the villagers have nowhere to go for medical attention as the nearest clinic is over 20 km away.
“The problem we discovered is the issue of sanitation. Most of the toilets at schools and villages do not meet sanitation requirements. People don’t have access to toilets because it’s only a small island that is left. Most communities do not have potable water in terms of boreholes. They use floodwater that is not treated,” revealed the councillor.
In this regard he said the teams, especially from the health ministry, has been distributing purification tablets to affected villages to prevent any waterborne disease outbreak. He said they used a hoover craft that belongs to the police as a means of transport since villages are cut off and cannot be accessed with vehicles. The only areas, he says, they did not reach are Itomba and Insundwa, which are equally affected but are on higher ground.
Furthermore, he said, although the schools are closed for a two-week midterm break, some schools in the affected areas are making use of the time to avoid any time lost in case floodwaters keep rising. These schools include Nankuntwe where both learners and teachers are affected.
He urged the ministry of education to assist the learners and teachers with food rations since they will be camping out, as crossing streams poses a serious danger.
However, he said, the level of the Zambezi River has since last week been stagnant at 5.68 m, which is because the rain stopped for almost two weeks.
According to him, the danger arises when the river reaches 6 m and above, which will force the regional leadership to relocate villagers.