*Down but not out:Masasa land slide victims still trapped in the disaster zone- awaiting govt's rescue*
BY MONALISA NYIRENDA
Hundreds of landslides victims trapped in Masasa disaster zone in Mzuzu are still waiting for the government's promise to be relocated to a new and safer palce, almost six years since Peter Mutharika, the then President declared the area a disaster zone.
Atleast seven people died, several others injured, and hundreds of houses collapsed as a result of the mudslide following persistent heavy rainfall that hit the city, and other places in the northern in 2016.
Saulos Chilima, the Vice President toured the affected area in April same year, and ordered the city council authorities to evacuate the victims to the new and safer place .
He also ordered that the utility service providers such as Escom and Waterboard should stop forthwith provision of services to the area.
But six years down the line, the victims are still trapped in the disaster zone.
A visit by _the Citizen Eye_ to Masasa observed that many houses are failing to stand the persistent hevy rains that continues falling in Mzuzu.
"We are still trapped in the disaster zone and are in danger," says the area's block leader Menius Banda .
"Most houses here are at risk of collapsing due to the excessive rainfall, and people are living in fear of loosing their lives," she told _the Citizen Eye._
Grace Banda , a poverty stricken widow of six children is one of the most at risk victims. Her house may collapse anytime but she still insists to remain in the area.
"I know that I'm on the death trap but I have no option," she says, "I can't manage to find money and buy a piece of land and building materials hence I'm hoping on the government promise," Banda.
Other victims we talked to collaborated with Banda that they are failing to get out of the area on their own due to financial problems.
But MacDonald Gondwe, the Spokesperson for Mzuzu City Council said the Council has not effected the presidential order due to a number of factors including lack of resources.
"The plan is still intact as per the directive but the relocation exercise demands resources to enable the Council compasate the affected households as well as securing a new space for them.
"This exercise awaits resources because the resources were supposed to come from Department of Disaster management Affairs(DODMA) since the council doesn't have really available resources to help necessitate the exercise," Gondwe said.
He adds that the plan will also work on compensation of the victims for the loss of their property.
"Most of these people were born and raised in Masasa , they have set up businesses, built houses, and the relocation may mean reshaping their lives to something they didn't expect."
Gondwe , however, bemoans lack of conviction by some victims to be relocated as they continue to erect structures within the area despite the directive to stop.