By Chisomo Phiri
Over 21 hectares of agricultural land for over 500 farmers have been submerged in water in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Phimbi in Balaka district, following a flood which occurred due to persistent rains that began on Friday last week in the area.
The outpour, which led to the overflowing of Rivirivi River, affected more than 300 households in village heads Phimbi, Naweta and Zidyana.
Chairperson of Phimbi Area Development Committee (ADC), Ephraim Kamtedza has told this publication the flooding waters damaged a lot of crops, some which were ready for harvest.
“We mostly rely on irrigation and rain fed farming. People planted crops such as tomatoes, maize and egg plants which would have been harvested next week.
“We are sad that both the rain fed and irrigated crops have been washed away,”said Kamtedza.
Kamtedza then called upon authorities to come forward and assist those affected, saying the rains had just started.
“Let well-wishers come forward and assist. Some of the crops that have been washed away were just two weeks old, though many were already ready for harvesting.
“If given some seeds, we can still go back and replant when the water levels lower as we cannot survive without the crops,” he added.
District Commissioner for Balaka, Tamanya Harawa described the situation as worrisome to a district whose people are affected year in and year out.
“Our district has been negatively affected with hunger such that my office was working hard to secure some maize for distribution, and now we are yet again faced with another calamity.
“We are currently assessing the situation and once the assessment report is out, we will send it to relevant authorities for possible assistance. Let me also call upon all civil society organizations in the district and outside to come in and assist,” said Harawa.
Meanwhile, the authorities in the district have advised people to avoid farming and residing in disaster-prone areas.