Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has disclosed that Tropical Cyclone Freddy has negatively affected the public service delivery systems across the Southern Region.
Chakwera cited the cutting of roads effectively preventing rescue workers and other officials from delivering food and non-food supplies to the survivors.
“Today, I saw firsthand how the people of Mangochi in the areas of Makanjira and Malombe have been suffering from the disruption caused by the cyclone to public services like education, health, commerce, farm inputs, agriculture extension services, policing, and even justice. These disruptions to public service delivery are an additional form of suffering that the affected areas are enduring, on top of the anguish they already feel from losing their loved ones, being injured, losing their fields, losing their clothes, and losing their homes,” he said.
President Chakwera said it is against this background that, aside from mobilizing and delivering critical supplies for the victims, his government introduced Operation Tigwirane Manja as the temporary and partial restoration of damaged infrastructure that is essential for the resumption of public service delivery.
He assured the people of Makanjira and Malombe that help was on the way to make the two roads that connect them to the rest of the district usable in the short term, while the government is working on securing resources for the proper construction of those roads in the medium term.
He stated that in other areas affected by the cyclone, the government has already successfully done the partial or temporary restoration of critical infrastructure to resume the delivery of emergency relief items and the delivery of public services.
“For example, a number of areas around Blantyre that suffered water supply disruptions have now started to get water. These include Ndirande Newlines, Chitawira, Nkolokosa B, parts of Chemusa, parts of Machinjiri, Chinyonga, Nyambadwe, and Mbayani. As a whole, pumping at all Blantyre Water Board stations was brought up to 70 percent as of two days ago, and the Ministry of Water and Sanitation is continuing to work around the clock to ensure that water supply is restored to other areas as well,” he said.
The cyclone has also caused extensive damage to both transmission and distribution lines for ESCOM, as well as disruptions to hydro and solar power stations that were either shut down following the cyclone or washed away completely, as was the case with one small power station in Mulanje.
According to President Chakwera, the net effect of all this was the reduction in Malawi’s power generation to 165MW.
“However, due to the tireless efforts of our engineers, all damaged transmission lines have now been restored, while the work of restoring distribution lines is being pursued through the mobilization of the 15 billion Kwacha needed for the necessary materials. And in the case of roads, the number of roads that were damaged by the Cyclone and rendered impassable was 44, but thanks to the tireless effort of our logistics teams, some of those roads are now temporarily passable to allow supplies to reach the people who need them. As we do this work of restoring service delivery, which is in itself an enormous task, I am grateful to those of you who have not stopped sending in supplies for the relief of the people affected,” he said.