HEAVY rains have washed away various culverts on the “all-weather” Itezhi-Tezhi–Kalomo road in Southern Province.
This has affected residents of Shezongo, Mbila and Luchena areas of Itezhi-Itezhi who are now made to pay K20 to navigate their way past the crossing stretch at Nanzhila river with a canoe.
Speaking when a team from Ministry of Green Economy and Environment national adaptation project visited one of the sites with the washed away culverts at Nanzhila river on Saturday, Itezhi-Tezhi district administrative officer Derrick Chilala said residents in the mentioned areas have been cut off from Itezhi-Tezhi town where various facilities such as a hospital, bank and schools are located.
Chilala said flooding in Itezhi-Tezhi needed urgent attention as it has also affected maize fields.
“We quickly need relief, maybe boats. If we have boats as government that are supervised by our office so that people can be able to move freely at no cost at all, that can help because they are paying and paying,” Chilala said.
And team leader David Kaluba explained that the 250 kilometres long climate resilient Itezhi-Tezhi-Kalomo road had culverts washed away because the range of the expected flooding might have been underestimated.
Kaluba attributed the retrogressive happenings to the growing intensity of climate change.
“This road is supposed to be an all-weather road. The original intention was that it should withstand the floods. In the feasibility study report the analysis indicated that this is the 600mm-900 mm of rainfall per year. What we see here is that the anticipated rains have been overtaken by the range,” he said.
“The layers of the road were basically put to try and respond to that expectation. Instead of putting culverts here, there should have been a bridge. That is why even if it was meant to be a climate resilient road, its capacity has been overtaken by this unusual event.”
Meanwhile, principal climate change officer for adaptation in the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment Kasanda Bunda said people need to upscale adaptation strategies that they are putting in place.
“We have seen that in this area, the road has been cut off, meaning socio-economic services such as accessing the clinics have been cut off. This is putting a strain on the livelihood of people as well as the nation at large. We really need to work together and put up adaption measures that are supposed to be done,” he said.
Bunda has however revealed that the country through the road department have developed standards of road construction in which they have integrated issues of climate change.
“What is now remaining is implementation of this standard and codes so that we have resilient roads that are able to withstand Climate change,” said Bunda.