Counting cost of heavy rains


FRANCIS LUNGU, Choma, Namwala
BOYD Manuwa and Josias Kazolo woke up early on January 14 to a shocking discovery; a downpour in the night had left a trail of destruction, submerging crop fields and destroying houses. The whole landscape of Chokola village in Chief Nalubamba’s area in Namwala district in Southern Province was covered by water following heavy rains the region has been experiencing since the third week of December. The water has grabbed large portions of land, forming what now appears like a lake. The deluge has affected many other villages and settlements, apart from Chokola village where Boyd and Josias live. Boyd and Josias could not believe the scene that greeted their eyes that morning. They both had never witnessed such an occurrence in their lifetime. Boyd is 30 years old, while Josias is 18. Those who have lived in the district long enough say it is only the second time that they are witnessing such floods in the area in 50 years. Boyd and Josias, who live in a small thatched hut, had planned to take some maize for milling in the neighbouring Mweemba village that morning. But they found themselves standing helplessly outside their hut, staring at the floodwaters that had swallowed their maize crop. They were forced to wade in floodwaters.“This situation is very bad. We have not seen such a thing before since we were born,” said Boyd, a bag of maize perched on his head. Boyd, Josias and several other residents of Namwala district fear they are now on the verge of starvation, going by the trail of destruction the flood waters have caused to their crops. “There will be no food in this area, the rains have been too much this year, our crop is destroyed,” said Josias as he stood on the Monze-Niko road, which now resembles a stream. Over the years, Southern Province has become prone to adverse weather, but it mostly suffers long dry spells that affect agriculture. “We do not understand what is happening this time around,” said Josias, visibly puzzled by the phenomenon. In the past years we would worry about the area receiving little rainfall, poor crop yields leading to hunger in most homes, but now hunger will be caused by CLICK TO READ MORE

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