Mzuzu — The Mzuzu City Council (MCC) has warned residents who are refusing to move out of disaster prone areas that they will be disconnected from essential utilities like electricity and water.
The warning follows the Vice-President Saulos Chilima's recent call for councils to implement disaster-reduction related policies.
The Vice-President's call came during the International Disaster Reduction Commemoration Day in Mzuzu where he also launched National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) and National Disaster Risk Management Training Manual.
Speaking on Thursday during a disaster preparedness meeting, MCC Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Mcloud Kadam'manja, said the council had already agreed with ESCOM to disconnect electricity from disaster-prone areas.
Kadam'manja said the disconnection of electricity is one way of fast-tracking the relocation process of residents who are living in uninhabitable areas.
"For some time, some people have been questioning why the council, through its stakeholders, continues providing services to such areas.
"We have now already discussed and agreed with ESCOM on this initiative, which we believe, will force the residents [to] move from these areas," said Kadam'manja.
He added that soon the council will engage Northern Region Water board (NRWB) to also disconnect the water system from disaster prone places.
"As we are going closer to the on-set of the rainy season, we need to prepare ourselves so that we reduce the impact of potential natural disasters.
"As a council, we have put in place short, medium and long-term measures to counteract natural disasters that have been wreaking havoc in the city and surrounding districts," Kadam'manja explained.
He said as a short-term measure, the council intends to start relocating residents from disaster prone areas to safer areas at Kanthete as well as constructing drainage systems in the city.
"Short and long-term solutions will include engaging Traditional Authority (TA) Kampingo Sibande to provide the city with land at Area 6 where these people can be relocated to," he said.
During the meeting, members said land at Area 6 will be allocated basing on set categories of people.
Plots will be provided for free to ultra-poor households while those who can afford to buy will be sold the plots at a subsidized rate.
Six people lost their lives due to floods and mudslides during the rainy season of 2015 in Mzuzu City.