21 December 2017

Malawi-Mozambique Agree to Rehabilitate Ruo River

Blantyre — Government says it has completed discussions with the Mozambican counterpart on its plans to complete the dragging of Ruo River in Nsanje District which changed its original course during the January 2015 floods.

Ruo River caused serious floods in Shire Valley in 2015 because it changed the original course and in the process, affected the boundary since the river marks the boundary between the two countries (Malawi and Mozambique).

Since then people from Nsanje and Chikwawa have been living in fear that the river may contribute to another serious flood in future if left unattended.

Speaking during the official launch of the 2017/2018 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Programme held at Nyanjiwa Primary School in Nsanje on Wednesday, Vice President Dr Saulosi Chilima said reconstruction works of the Ruo River will start shortly after the rainy season as discussions of the work have been completed.

"For quite some time, people of Chikwawa and Nsanje have been facing serious floods and climate change effects. This makes government and other donors to come to their rescue during these very difficult periods.

"I must say the support come to these two districts not because people from these places are lazy or beggars but because of the unforeseen circumstances they do experience," said Chilima.

"One thing that causes serious floods here is the volatile nature of Ruo River due to its bursting. There are more challenges people of the two districts may face if the Ruo River remains in the current diverted course," added the Vice President.

He further said since the river demarcates Malawi and Mozambique, the Government of Malawi took a step to discuss with Mozambique, saying the discussions went on well.

According to the Vice-President, the work of bringing the river to its normal course shall start shortly.

Dr Chilima said Malawi cares for the lives of people and emphasized on the need for the government to bring back the river to its original course to avoid what happened in 2015, adding that chronic food insecurity requires interventions beyond humanitarian food assistance.

"We need to step up interventions that will contribute to the resilience building of the affected communities so that we can break the vicious cycle of food insecurity," he added.

The Lower Shire Valley, notably Chikwawa and Nsanje districts, are prone to floods due to increased inflows from both the Shire and Ruo rivers during the rainy season.

The food security assessment report by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee identified about 1.04 million people in Malawi requiring relief food assistance during the lean season, from December 2017 to March 2018.

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