LWB needs K2 bn to supply water in Cholera hotspots – Capital Radio Malawi
22 September, 2023

LWB needs K2 bn to supply water in Cholera hotspots

The Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) requires about 2 billion kwacha to supply free water to Cholera hotspots in the city.

People in areas such as 36, Mtandire, Mtsiliza, Kauma, Mchitanjiru and Chinsapo have been heavily hit by Cholera due to a lack of access to clean water.

A water test results by the LWB from nine sampled shallow wells in the affected areas indicate that people consume contaminated water.

This is linked to wells that are dug closer to pit latrines.

Water and Sanitation Minister Abida Mia has stressed that provision of clean water is among solutions in containing the cholera outbreak.

Malawi reported its largest outbreak of Cholera between 2001 and 2002 affecting 26 of the 29 districts with 33 546 cases and 968 deaths.

But the current outbreak has already spread in all the districts raising fears, it might turn out to be the worst.

In the city of Lilongwe, the wave of Cholera has accelerated due to poor hygiene practices and the use of unsafe water from shallow wells.

A visit by the Minister of Water and Urban development to Cholera hotspots in the city found that a majority of the residents could not afford to pay for tap water or buy from kiosks.

They instead fetch water from unsafe sources such as wells that are contaminated.

Mia (centre back) and LWB officials

Marah Kumbweza Banda comes from one of the areas in Lilongwe which is struggling with the Cholera outbreaks, she is the board chairperson of Tsabango Water Users Association- a body that is currently implementing strategies aimed at containing the outbreak.

‘The challenge we are having is that we sell water in our water points at 30 kwacha for a 20- litre bucket, we are a low-income community and not everyone can afford to buy the water, as a result people opt to fetch from shallow Wells where water is usually contaminated,’’ indicates Kumbweza Banda.

At the moment Lilongwe Water Board requires about K2 billion to provide free water to people in the affected areas.

Board Chairperson for LWB Inkosi Mbelwa V hints that they are already in touch with the presidential taskforce on covid 19 and Cholera to access funds.

‘We acknowledge the problem of portable water is huge and as a board we are trying all we can to find solutions that can help people have access to clean water, as one way of reducing the spread of Cholera,” adds Mbelwa.

Minister responsible for water and sanitation Mia, describes the Cholera situation in the city and across the country as worrisome.

She however applauds the LWB and Lilongwe City Council for coming up with up interventions to mitigate the outbreak.

According to Mia, in areas like Mtandire and other hotspots they carried out a test and water from shallow Wells is contaminated by bacteria as such wells are usually dug close to toilets making it unsafe to drink.

As the country continues to grapple with the Cholera outbreak, what is clear is that, the Provision of safe water and sanitation is critical to prevent and control the transmission of the disease and other waterborne diseases.

It is therefore important for the government to ensure that people have access to portable water.

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