Government has pulled down temporary shelters it erected at Chimbalame CCAP Church to accommodate families displaced by unprecedented flooding in the high-density area of Mtandire and part of Area 47 in Lilongwe.
The February 10 2017 incident left close to 1 000 families homeless after their houses were swept away, leaving behind a trail of damage to property.
Authorities say at least three people died in the incident.
The calamity prompted the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma), in conjunction with its partners, to ask Chimbalame CCAP Church leadership to allow them erect temporary shelters within the church’s premises.
However, concerns were raised over poor sanitation and hygiene practices, leaving government with no option, but to disband the camp.
It is said that sanitary facilities had proven too inadequate for the victims; hence, their resolve to plead with government to relocate the victims.
However, moderator of Chimbalame CCAP Church, the Reverend Fletcher Makala Mbewe, said the church had no problems to accommodate the victims as long as government provided for them.
“We had no problem as a church. But government felt their continued stay in the premises could breed other problems.
“And we understood them because the responsibility to provide for the victims rested in the hands of government and the church,” he said.
Dodma spokesperson Jeremiah Mphande confirmed pulling down the structures on Saturday.
He said following the development, each of the affected household was given K25 000 to rent a house (K15 000) and venture into small-scale entrepreneurship (K10 000).
They were also given 50 kilogrammes (kg) bag of maize, kitchen utensils, two blankets, 5kg of beans, two tablets of U-fresh laundry soap and a packet of sugar.
However, some of the victims have complained that the package is not enough to restart their lives.
A 38-year-old mother of four, Dorothy Banda, said K25 000 is only enough to pay rent for a month without saving something for a business venture.
“I don’t know what sort of business government wants us to start with a capital as less as K10 000? Some of us were doing business.
“But our capital was not that little. So, we don’t know what government is thinking about us,” she said.
Her husband, Wilfred Banda, said he had problems with the way government handled the relocation process.
“It was so abrupt, leaving us with no option to psychologically and mentally prepare. This has left scars on many people to say the fact,” he said.
Mphande refused to comment on these complaints.