Eight people have died and another three are seroiusly injured while many others have been left homeless at Masasa Township in Mzuzu following heavy rains on Thursday night that destroyed sever!al houses.
The five individuals, from two households, have been identified as Eliza Shaba (37) and her two children Kondwani (a year old) and Margaret Mphande (two years old).
The others are Loveness (one year old) and Styness Zimba (8). Their mother Ethel Khosa, 25, is battling for her life at Mzuzu Central Hospital with injuries.
Three children survived from one house whereas a 10-year-child survived from the other. Men in both households were guarding at their workplaces in town.
Village head Thula said at least nine houses were washed away in her area by the raging rain water down the lower part of the area.
“Most of the houses affected are those in steep areas. The major challenge is that we don’t have enough space for settlement. We were relocated from Katoto Area 4 without compensation to pave way for the rich to build their mansions.
“Most of the people were forced to settle in these risky places. And the result are these deaths,” said Thula.
One of the eyewitnesses, Alice Mwale, said the disaster started around 10pm when Mzuzu was under siege with heavy rains. The running water carried logs, soils and other debris which overwhelmed the poorly constructed houses.
The disaster has also affected Zolozolo, Chibavi, Salisbury Line, Ching’ambo and Chiputula where several houses have collapsed.
These areas are mostly squatters in low lying areas that are prone to flash floods and water logging, especially after heavy rains as was the case in 2014 when 4 600 individuals were rendered homeless after 919 households were affected.
Council officials then said individuals in these areas were living there illegally.
As we went to press, the officials were not available for comment as they were reported to be locked up in a meeting. n