Singalamwe flood victims decry lack of Government aid

27 Mar 2015 09:10am
SINGALAMWE, 27 MAR (NAMPA) – A Village Development Committee (VDC) at Lisamba in the Singalamwe area is accusing Government of neglecting them following their ‘forced’ permanent relocation from their flood-prone settlements to higher ground in 2008.
On Tuesday, during a visit at the area, Agnes Likando, a member of the VDC, told Nampa that they feel Government has forgotten about their destitute situation at Lisamba Village, where they were relocated on promises of being assisted to build new homes.
She said, since their relocation to the new area, Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry managed to put up only one water tank, powered by diesel adding, this 2500 litre water tank, which is meant to supply over 109 households, cannot contain enough water and as a result, families have to take rations each day.
The VDC member pointed out that solar panels to provide electricity in their mud-thatched houses were never given to them adding, the area does not have a shopping centre either. The community member on pension grant does her monthly shopping for groceries at Katima Mulilo over 130 kilometres away.
“When we were moved from our previous settlement, we were told that Government would help us with all that we needed to make the area habitable. However, that has not been the case. Government has forgotten about us and we are continuing to languish in poverty,” she said.
Likando noted that the community finds it difficult to access medical help when suffering from different ailments, as the nearest health centre is over 20 kilometres away at Kongola. According to her, the Ministry of Health’s Mobile Clinic has never been at their area.
“Our complaints for a mobile clinic in the area have been in vain. We feel we are not cared for by a government that only knows us when it is voting period. We have also complained about the distance that our children have to walk to and from school in this dangerous and elephant-infested area but this plight was also ignored. How long do we have to suffer before Government looks upon us?” asked Likando.
Lisamba Village headman, James Sinyamba Samutusela called on Government to hasten on its promise to assist flood victims, as it did with the Senkwekwe Flood Camp.
According to Samutusela, Lisamba Village’s flood victims were the first to be relocated from the annually hit flood-prone areas along the Kwando River in 2008 but Senkwekwe flood camp’s households, which was set up in 2011, were assisted by Government ahead of Lisamba.
“We at Lisamba Village were the first to be relocated from the swamps and flood plains of the Kwando River, but the Senkwekwe flood camp, which was the second in 2011, has since been assisted to build houses and to have access to a water and electricity supply.
“What criterion was used to benefit Senkwekwe flood camp ahead of us? At Lisamba, we also do not have cell phone network coverage or even television reception. We are locked out from development to social amenities,“ said Samutusela.
When contacted, Kongola Constituency Councillor, David Muluti, said he was aware of the situation facing the Lisamba Village community, saying he has written letters to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) detailing their request for assistance but has yet to receive feedback.
“I have written two letters to the relevant offices but no response was received as to whether Lisamba flood victims would be provided with building materials or solar panels to make their lives bearable. I can only promise to look into the matter again before commenting in deep context about the situation,” said Muluti.