Vice-President Saulos Chilima has blasted city councils and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) for what he described as negligence in preventing and managing disasters.
Chilima hit at the institutions on Thursday when he toured areas that were affected by hailstorms and floods in Mzuzu, where he also cheered victims of the disaster.
The Veep, said it was belief-defying to see houses being constructed right in the middle of the river or drainage channels.
He said: “People have occupied hilly areas and constructed houses that are almost on top of each other. And yet councils and other relevant agencies seem to stand by and watch such a ticking time-bomb.
“As I have said elsewhere, please rise to the occasion and do what you are supposed to do to protect people from disasters. I am personally not happy with just talking and showing nothing at the end of the day. Follow what the laws stipulate and do your work. We have to be a disciplined nation.”
Chilima also questioned Escom’s reasoning in leaving power lines in areas where trees and roofs fell on the lines. He ordered that all trees close to power lines in the city be cut down.
He then summoned Escom and MCC officials to a closed door meeting to discuss the disaster issue.
The Vice-president also called on people to follow building guidelines of the city, warning building in waterways is risky.
Mzuzu City mayor William Mkandawire said lack of coordination among government institutions in the city is contributing to some of the settlement problems.
On his part, Mzuzu City legislator Leonard Njikho asked government to allocate land for people who cannot secure plots from the city landlords. He said some residents are so poor that they are forced to build in unsafe areas.
The disaster in Mzuzu affected eight residential areas and injured four people, including a teacher at Zolozolo Primary School. The city is still assessing the extent of the damage.