Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Vincent Mwale has assured residents of Lunga district in Luapula Province that clearing of canals in the district will start very soon.
Mr. Mwale said in a statement issued by Ministry spokesperson Jeff Banda that he has engaged his counterpart at the Ministry of Finance to release money for fuel for the two dredgers that are stationed in Lunga district.
He said the Canals in Lunga district have been blocked because the two dredgers meant to clear the canals are not working as they have no fuel.
Mr Mwale has since dispatched a team of engineers from his Ministry to go to Lunga district to go and make plans of how quickly the dredgers should work once money for fuel is released.
The Minister was speaking at his office when three Chiefs from Lunga District paid a courtesy call on him to complain about the blocked canals and stalled construction of district infrastructure.
“As a ministry, we are aware of the situation in Lunga district both with the blocked canals and the stalled construction of district infrastructure. I can assure you your royal Highnesses that my Ministry has put emphasis on the construction of district infrastructure in all newly created districts and you will soon see construction activities. We already have the same contracts signed it is just a matter of releasing money so that works can start.” Mr. Mwale said.
He added that his Ministry is treating the issue of blocked canals in the Lunga district as an emergency and that action is being taken.
The Minister said it is the Government’s objective to address all the challenges that are affecting the people in every district in the country.
And Senior Chief Kalimakunde of the Ushi people, who was accompanied by Chief Kasomalunga and a representative of Chief Bwalya Mponda, said they decided to come and seek an audience with the Minister because of the state of the canals and stalled construction of district infrastructure in the area.
He said if nothing is urgently done all Islands of the district will submerge.
The Senior Chief said he is positive that the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development, where the dredgers unit fall, should quickly address the situation and avoid a disaster.
“It is raining heavily in Lunga district and canals are blocked due to luck of clearing. We are aware that the district has two dredgers but we are told that there is no fuel so these machines are not working. We are therefore appealing to you Hon. Minister to help address this situation.” The Chief said.
And Chief KasomaLunga said the people of the Island relay on water transport and the bad state of the channels means that their livelihood is negatively affected.
“Our mode of transport is the water we, therefore, need to have clear canals so that we do not have challenges in paddling.” Chief Kasomalunga said.
Lunga district comprises five islands namely, Kasomalunga, Kalimankonde, Nsamba, Bwalya Mponda, and Chafye. The Island is accessed through a wide network of water channels that provides the only means of movement from one place to another.
However, the waterways, which serve as roads, are often blocked with weeds causing challenges in the movement of boats and canoes.