Vice-President Everton Chimulirenji says government will support victims of a fire that razed Blantyre Market last Tuesday night destroying property worth millions of kwacha.
Speaking on Thursday when he toured the market, Chimulirenji said government through the Malawi Enterprise Development Fund (Medef) will give soft loans to affected vendors so that they return to business.
He said as an immediate intervention, government will distribute 200 bags of rice to the vendors so that they do not suffer starvation during the period.
Said Chimulirenji: “This is a sad development, as government we are aware that not only the business owners have been affected but their immediate families as well, we promise to be with you in this trying time.”
On his part, minister of Local Government and Rural Development Ben Phiri hailed the vendors for uniting to rescue some of the property.
He said his ministry will work together with Blantyre City Council to ensure that the market has strong structures to avoid similar incidents in future.
One of the affected vendors, Conley Kannonyele, thanked the Vice-President and the other governmental officials for the visit.
He then requested that electricity, which was disconnected following the fire accident, be reconnected in the market as soon as possible to enable some vendors continue with their work.
“We have lost a lot of property. Assessments are still being done to establish the extent of the damage as well as the cause of the fire. It is a huge blow to us but we are hopeful that with government’s intervention, things will get back to normal. Our plea is that the loans be fast tracked to ease our situation,” said Kannonyele.
Other officials at the function included Minister of Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi, Blantyre City Mayor Wild Ndipo, Blantyre district commissioner Bennet Nkasala, Blantyre South legislator Noel Lipipa and officials from the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma).
Yesterday, the Office of the Vice-President issued a statement stating that Chimulirenji will today visit people affected by winds that damaged houses around Chikungwa Primary School in Group Village Head Nkhataombere, T/A Nsabwe in Thyolo District. He will later address people at Thekerani Trading Centre.