Malawi: Cholera Outbreak Looms in Mzuzu City Over Sanitation

14 January 2020

Chances that there could be a serious outbreak of waterborne diseases in the northern region city of Mzuzu are high as officials have confessed that they have no waste management facilities, Nyasa Times can reveal.

Mzuzu city council is failing in its duties of keeping the market clean.

Last Friday, communities around Mzuzu maize silos, close to where waste was being dumped, got destroyed and closed up after members of the community argued the site emitted pungent smells.

They said Mzuzu City Council (MCC) failed to properly manage the facility.

"This place has been stinking, and flies from there have been disturbing our peace in our homes. We have been asking them [MCC] to open another waste management facility with an argument that the current one is too close to people but they have given us deaf ears," said Moses Chirwa, a community member.

MCC publicist, McDonald Gondwe, who failed to deny the community members' rants said "there is more to the community that what the community is saying."

Said Gondwe: "From the word go the community seemed to have had issues with the facility."

According to Gondwe, the council has managed to reason with the community over the matter but to no avail.

"When we got a closure notice we went to discuss with the community. We discussed a number of issues, we presented our facts and efforts we have been making to make the facility more functional but it seems the community had already planned not to hear our side of the story," said Gondwe.

Gondwe admitted that the development is a big blow not only to the council but also to its residents.

"Sure it's an urgent matter. In fact not only urgent but also inconveniencing. The Council is working on a number of alternatives but [has] not yet arrived at a tangible one. So we are still exploring," he said.

Mzuzu-based social commentator, Jackson Msiska, while asking authorities to immediately iron out the issues being raised, worried that Mzuzu was obviously a cholera and waterborne disease prone area.

Last week, MCC blamed its residents and business operators for littering garbage on restricted areas, saying they were failing to manage the refuse due to shortage of resources.

Meanwhile, Blantyre has so far been recorded to be the first city to register a cholera case in the country.

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