MAKOLONGA/LINYANTI – Following heavy rainfall in the Zambezi Region the two constituencies of Sibbinda and Linyanti have experienced flooding for the first time in decades which has forced hundreds of people from their homes.
Villages in areas such as Makolonga, Mazoba, Sibbinda and Linyanti have been submerged by rainwaters for more than a week, with the situation said to be exacerbated by underground water that is spewing out from below the surface due to a fairly shallow water table.
At Mbozi village in the Makolonga area more than 15 households have been made homeless with a dozen having relocated to dry areas, while some have chosen to stay put to guard their possessions. Just a few kilometres further west 18 villages are reportedly affected with some homesteads having already succumbed to floodwaters and collapsed.
Some roads leading to villages have been completely cut off by the rainwater.
At Linyanti the interior of homes have been heavily flooded. Floors and furniture have been spoiled, plus food such as drought relief maize received by the villagers.
The Zambezi Regional Council Chairperson Raphael Mbala, who was accompanied by the Director of Planning Robert Mapenzi to assess the calamity first hand, described the situation as worrisome but confirmed the regional council is providing help to affected residents.
“We learnt about the problem last week that the two constituencies of Linyanti and Sibbinda are heavily affected following heavy rains. The regional council has already sent a team that is on the ground to make sure that tents are put up. We will also team up with the Red Cross and other stakeholders to make sure that there is safe drinking water and mosquito nets,” assured Mbala.
Sikosinyana Secondary School in the Sibbinda Constituency has been seriously affected and some teachers have also been forced to relocate. The flooding has left many residents in awe as many have only heard about previous flooding in the eastern parts of the Zambezi Region but not experienced it first hand. According to information obtained from locals the last time such heavy flooding occurred in Sibbinda was in 1978 and then again in 2006.
An induna in Linyanti village where 11 households are affected, Simon Chombo Mutimani, described the situation as “startling” saying he had never experienced such disaster since resettling in the area.
“It is the first time I experience this in our village. We are very much surprised,” said Mutimani.
Andrew Muyunda in the nearby village who was not home at the time of the flooding was equally alarmed, with some of his possessions having been completely destroyed by the rainwater.
“I was not at the village when the disaster occurred. When I arrived I found that my furniture had been washed away,” narrated Muyunda.
With the heavy rains continuing many more villages are feared to will face similar flooding, a situation that is likely to put a heavy burden on the regional council which is already busy with flood relief efforts in the regularly flood-prone areas of eastern Zambezi.
By George Sanzila