The creator and provider of all natural resources was generous last week by giving us rains in abundance.
I was, however, saddened to see in The Nation newspaper pictures of cars deep in water along Haile Selassie Road downtown Blantyre and workers clearing water in flooded shops in the aftermath of the increase in the weather condition.
Merchandise that is supposed to be kept in dry places at all times was damaged in the ‘flood’. Sad. While we commiserate with those who lost stocks in the water, the situation could have been avoided if a piece that was published in this space was taken into consideration at the onset of this year’s rainy season.
The excessive rains also exposed the weakness of the roofs which fail to leave to Malawi’s founding president Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda’s yardstick of a good house. Those who may recall, Kamuzu’s wish was that Malawians should live in houses that do not leak when it rains. This was one of his three basics for humanity, the other two being food and clothing.
Sadly, the rains have exposed some houses in our midst that are below the basic standard that Kamuzu advocated decades ago.
This too, could have been avoided if precaution was taken at the onset of the season. It is, however, not too late to reverse the trend before the leaking roof can cause a disaster. Leaking roofs are a hazard because they can cause rotting of the timbers which leads to degeneration of the roof work. Water passing through the leaks can also cause electrical problems in the house.
It does not take a fortune to repair the roof. Hardware shops have various brands of roof sealants which can be used to stop all water from entering your house.
In this project you require a ladder to help climb to the roof. You also require appropriate proactive gear, including a helmet.
Once on the roof, inspect the places where the iron sheets may have cracks. Also inspect places where there are nails because movement of iron sheets due to winds may enlarge holes on the iron sheets. The other guide is to check the leaking spots from inside the house spots. This, however, may not be accurate for houses with ceilings because what may be seen as a leaking point may just be a collection point of the water, which may have run on the black plastic that is placed between the blundering and the ceiling.
Place the sealant on the suspected nails and cracked places. Test this by pouring water on the roof and see if it will leak again.
For the drainage, clearing it from time to time is the solution. It is common knowledge that in the dry months litter accumulates in the drains, especially those with concrete covering, which makes it difficult for residents to know how much space is left for water to pass through. If you want it perfectly done, do it yourself.n