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River Floods Threaten Kongola Residents’ Livelihood

By: Pricilla Mukokobi

Kongola constituency residents say their livelihood is under threat from flood waters that have flooded their fields as the Kwando river water levels rise.

Many residents in the area depend on vegetables for both household consumption and for income.

Mboozi Mutahane from Mwanzi village is one of the affected farmers. Mutahane was looking forward to his usual harvest. However, his hope was dashed by the arrival of flood waters, and he lost his income.

Usually, Mutahane would supply vegetables to various markets in Kongola and Katima Mulilo.

Mutahane said that he was not prepared and that the flood took him by surprise. Mutahane, who survives off his farm, lost items such as water tanks and water pumps and all types of vegetables, while others lost crops such as tomatoes, green peppers, onions, three different spinach, as well as utensils and other items.

“I normally sell my products to the local lodges and schools for a living, and have now I am left with nothing,” he said, urging the constituency office to come to their aid.

Farmers appealed to the government, relevant stakeholders and the councillor; however, nothing was done, and no one came to assist them.

“My entire livelihood is under water, and I am left with nothing to support my family,” he lamented.

He further said, even if they are in this challenging situation, he still continues to pay monthly wages to workers even if there is no profit made.

He further added that it is not safe to go to the garden. He calls for the government or anyone to help them in any way they can.

Another resident in the same predicament, Edinah Katulo, stated that there is nothing to harvest at all as the crops are flooded, and the water continues to flow. They are unable to move their crops or equipment.

She added that all the effort they made has gone to waste. Katulo stated that her family survives on the little vegetables she gets in her field, and that is where she feeds her children from.

“We called Red Cross for assistance. They said they can only give us small seeds, and for the rest, they cannot help us. We do not know what to do anymore. The councillor told us he does not have money to help us. If he gets something, he will come forth,” she said.

Katulo further said, this is the first time something like this is happening to her garden, and it looks like the water won’t dry any time soon.

“I do not have a stable job. If the water does not finish, I don’t know how I will survive with my children. We depend on that. My husband is not working either. I do not know how I am going to buy school uniforms for my children next year,” she said.

In addition to that, the field is about four kilometres from the homestead of the main village, and there is a stream between the field and the village. Therefore they have to cross over by canoe and then walk to the fields because cars are unable to get there.

Another farmer who wishes to remain anonymous stated that even though his farm is not really affected, the water is still moving, and he lives in fear of the water reaching his farm.

“Most of us in our village survive by our farms. We are glad our homes are not flooded, but we really appeal to the government to come and rescue us,” he said.

The flood started in mid-June. The passing water is coming from the Kwando River.

The Villager made several attempts to reach out to the Kongola constituency councillor Bennett Busihu for a comment, but he was unavailable.

Julia Heita

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