About nine houses along a road under construction in Area 25 in Lilongwe had a rude awakening on New Year’s Eve when their houses were submerged following heavy rainfall.
The road connecting Kaunda Road and Nsungwi Market in Area 25 has been under construction and when the rains fell, water flooded to the nearby houses.
This development angered the residents who believed that the floods were a result of authorities’ negligence. The residents resorted to burning tyres and blocking the road, prompting police intervention.
When the police arrived at the scene, they dispersed the crowd and re-opened the road.
When contacted, Kanengo Police Station spokesperson Ester Mkwanda said they were not ready with information and promised to come back when ready. She was yet to respond at press time.
Lydia Tembo, an affected resident, said the water invaded her house around 7pm and filled up her house.
She said: ” I had to open a hole in the bedroom to allow the water out. Most of our property has been destroyed by the water, including maize and other food items. I am a tenant in this house but I had no choice but to create an outlet for the water. I am not sure what the landlord is going to say about this.”
Another resident, Theresa January said she realised their houses were being flooded at around 8pm and it was too late to save their property.
She said: “The water was coming strongly and we failed to stop or divert it. I have lost over 25kg of maize flour, over 25kg of baking flour and a substantial amount of cooking oil, among other items.”
Roads Authority chief executive officer Engineer Emmanuel Matapa did not seem surprised by the development, saying construction of the road is ongoing with the aim of having a better road with a good drainage system.
He said the residents contributed to the problem as they obtained an injunction against the road works and, therefore, the contractor couldn’t do anything as the matter was still in court.
Said Matapa: “To be honest, the injunction has just been lifted last week. The contractor could not do anything but wait for the court processes to be finalised. This development affected progress of the project and that is why we have these problems now.”
The residents obtained an injunction against the project because they were looking for compensation from government.
But Matapa said the people had encroached into the road section; hence, there was no need for compensation.