Housing and Infrastructure Development Permanent Secretary Eng. Charles Mushota giving an interview at one of the washed away crossing point in Chipangali District in Eastern Province
A team of technocrats led by Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development (MHID)Permanent Secretary Eng. Charles Mushota and Engineers from the Road Development Agency (RDA) recently toured various crossing points affected by wash aways in Eastern Province to assess the extent of the damage so that interventions to restore connectivity are immediately employed.
The first point of call was at Msandile river crossing point in Chipangali District which had been partially cut off affecting the flow of goods and services in the area.
Eng. Mushota said his team was in the area to assess the damage and recommend remedial measures.
Eng. Mushota said that during the design process, engineers consider various factors such as the flow of water annually at the crossing points to come up with structures that can withstand variable climatic conditions.
He said it was now imperative that design engineers, consultants and contractors improved on the quality of work considering effects of climate change.
The Msandila gravel loop road is a very important road which provides access to farmers in the area as well as access to schools and health facilities.
“It is unfortunate that the heavy downpour in the region has caused havoc to the bridge at Msandile in Chipangali District,” he said.
Road Development Agency (RDA) Eastern Province Regional Manager Eng. Thomas Zimba said the Agency was doing everything possible to reinstate all the affected crossing point.
Chief Jumbe of the Kunda speaking people of Mambwe district commended the Government for the quick intervention and said he was rest assured that connectivity would soon be restored.
He was just worried that medical stocks might run out in senior Chief Nsefu’s area which had completely been cut off if works to reconnect the area delayed.
Another area that the team visited was Lupande river of cropping area in Mambwe district.
The ministry of Housing and infrastructure Development would work with the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) under the office of the Vice President to reconnect the areas.
Eng. Mushota said the Bailey bridge would be installed as an interim measure to facilitate the flow of people, goods and services.
The 2019-2020 flooding situation has been described as the worst ever in the history of Mambwe district.
Malambo Constituency Member of Parliament Hon. Makebi Zulu, who is also Eastern province minister said in the year 2006, the area experienced some flooding but not to the extent of the current situation.
Hon. Zulu lamented that the people of Masumba and Nsefu had been completely cut off and this was affecting tourism, health and education activities in the area.
Hon. Zulu said he was happy that the RDA has indicated that it would be installing bailey bridges in the affected areas, a move that would boost tourism thereby earn the local populace income.
President Edgar Lungu on January 9, 2020, took some time off his four-day retreat to enhance relief support to flood victims in Eastern Province and toured some sites which had been flooded, and assured flood victims of quick response to their plight.
During his tour, President Lungu went to Lumezi District where he advised flood victims to relocate to higher land away from riverbanks to avoid such calamities next year.
Later, the Head of State paid a courtesy call on Chief Mukanya and Chief Jumbe
of Mambwe district with the view of Government and Traditional Leaders working together to find lasting solutions towards natural calamities.