Climate Change Effects Hit Balaka
Trees have wantonly been cut down in most parts of Balaka north.
Rain pattern has negatively changed and people are feeling the wrath of climate change, hitting hard year in year out.
The communities are now shifting the blame on duty bearers for not providing enough relief food, potable water and good shelter.
Ellen Remusi of Sub Traditional Authority Matola says Mkwinimba, Kalambo and Mchenga rivers are flooding each year eroding the soil, sweeping away their crops and demolishing toilets and houses; thereby threatening their rights to life, shelter, water and sanitation among several.
"We are destitute as the natural disasters leave us with no potable water, no shelter and no food," lamented Remusi.
Senior group village head Matola however concedes that the people themselves have contributed to these problems they are facing as they have failed to conserve nature.
"Some of these problems are man-made and our actions are now backfiring.
"We need to take action like planting more trees; but would still urge duty bearers to support us wherever necessary," he said.
Parliamentarian for Balaka North Constituency, Tony Ngalande, admits the challenges are so many and provision of portable water and road connectivity are some of his major priorities.
"I have already drilled about ten boreholes within the seven months I have been representing them and the water drilling machine is still on the ground trying to ensure that in two years, people in my constituency have potable water,’ he said.
Mercy Chirambo, Livelihood Programs Coordinator for Catholic Development Commission National Office, says these challenges inspired the Climate Challenge Program Malawi, implemented in collaboration with Eagles Relief, with funding from Scottish Government through Trocaire and SCIAF.
Chirambo says they are trying to assist communities build resilience as several of their rights are being impeded as a result of climate change.
"Rights to life, good shelter, food, water and sanitation are being impeded and we are trying to assist them with sustainable interventions which they are already adopting," she said.
Balaka District Forestry Officer, James Jambo, says they had poor tree survival rate in 2018/2019 due to floods and other factors related to climate change.
He says they are devising new technologies to ensure good survival rate above last time's 45 percent.
"We are promoting water harvesting structures, soil conservation technologies and other initiatives to ensure these problems are addressed," says Jambo.