The Disaster Management and Mitigation unit (DMMU) in collaboration with the Land Resettlement Department has begun acquiring land for farming purposes, to be allocated to the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Namwala district, Western province.
DMMU National Coordinator, Gabriel Pollen says though the government managed to relocate the former flood victims from Chilumino camp to a permanent place, there is still need to further improve their livelihood, hence the decision to purchase the pieces of land.
He says the government does not want to continue spending huge sums of money relocating people hit by floods, hence the decision to offer them land where they can build permanent structures.
“We need not spend again, the last evacuation exercise for flood victims was very costly,” he said.
Dr. Pollen who is in Namwala district, in the company of Land Resettlement Permanent Secretary, Marvis Nkomeshya, Directors from Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise, says DMMU will help the beneficiaries of the land, build climate resilient structures by providing them with iron sheets and cement.
‘The approach this time is to make sure that these people we have relocated permanently to here, get integrated with locals”.
“But they need to start income generating activities,” Dr. Pollen said.
He says those involved in agriculture can form Cooperatives to access agriculture input support programs while those in other businesses will get support from the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprise.
Land Resettlement Permanent Secretary,Marvis Nkomeshya says over 70 affected households have been empowered with a 20 by 30 residential plot each, at Mandondo area in Chief Nalubamba’s area in Namwala district.
“What we have given is just residential, but we are still sourcing for more land through the traditional leaders so that they can start farming,” she said.
Ms Nkomeshya has further commended the traditional leadership for releasing the piece of land to accommodate the relocated families.
Meanwhile Chief Nalubamba has assured the government of the availability of more land once his royal council finalizes discussions.
Speaking through a representative, the Chief however warned the beneficiaries against reselling the pieces of land once given.
He noted that most of the relocated persons do not understand the essence of being offered such rich land, which is for farming purposes to earn them a livelihood, adding that they end up misusing it or even selling it in some instances.
“We don’t need the Late last year, over 500 households who were hit by floods at Namalyo fishing camp in Namwala district, were evacuated to Chilumino High land in Namwala and Hamusonde DMMU camp in Monze district.
The Military personnel was later tasked by the government to undertake the evacuation exercise using air transport due to the land being completely flooded.