Move or live with floods, Chawama residents told

Chawama residents with structures built on the road reserve should be willing to suffer collateral damage to allow for the construction of the drainage system to avoid continuous flooding in the area, says area councillor Portifer Tembo.

Mr Tembo, who is Lusaka City Council deputy mayor, said it was unfortunate that some shops and houses were flooded following a heavy downpour experienced in Lusaka over the weekend.

The civic leader said it was sad that people should continue suffering unnecessary flooding when there was an opportunity to end it.

“Every new road was to go with a drainage system, but the people of Chawama chose the roads but did not want to suffer collateral damage to allow for the drainages,” he said.

He explained that most affected shop owners along the road reserve refused to demolish their structures to pave way for the construction of a drainage system in the area, which gave the council no option but to omit the plans.

Mr Tembo could however not guarantee automatic funding for the construction of a drainage system should the residents have a change of heart.

He said the council, as was the case with central Government, did not hold funds to wait for people to decide, but instead allocated the money to other projects which were in progress.

Mr Tembo has since appealed to the residents to contact his office in order to work together in finding a solution to the problem of floods in Chawama.

“It is not automatic that funds are still available if they decide for the drainage, but we can at least apply when the funds are available,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Tembo has called on other councillors in Lusaka whose wards have been affected by flooding to consider using the Ward Development Fund (WDF) to deal with the situation.

The deputy mayor said the councillors should liaise with the ward committees to identify which drainages needed urgent attention to open up the flow of water from flood-prone areas.

“We all have the ward funds which we can use to work on the blocked drainages, but we can also apply from the central Government for any additional funding for more construction works,” he said.

Most of Lusaka was on Saturday and Sunday submerged in water after heavy downpours, including some parts of the central business district owing to a dysfunctional drainage system.