Fire gutted Mitundu market on Thursday night destroying over 100 shops and other properties.

Minister of Local government, Lingison Belekanyama on Saturday visited victims of Mitundu market.

He said he was saddened to see the extent of the damage the fire had caused leaving people destitute.

The Minister said it was a huge setback to government, victims and all market users.

“I learnt of the sad news on Thursday night few minutes after the market was on fire. We immediately engaged Ministry and officials to rush to assess the situation to help us in planning for immediate interventions to assist the victims,” Belekanyama pointed out.

He said that his Ministry would in the few days continue assessing the damage and come up with immediate interventions.

“Most shops are grass thatched and that caused the fire to spread quickly resulting into this great damage you see today. The market has no entrance which made it difficult for the fire fighters to make their way in and put out the fire before it spread to other shops. Those are the things that will be considered when construction a new market,” the Minister said.

Belekanyama said the Ministry was considering civic educating shop owners and all market users on the dos and don’ts on electricity usage to avoid such incidences in the future.

One of the victims, Good Friday asked government to provide them with any immediate solution that could help them put food on the table but enable them support their school going children.

Mitundu Market Chairperson, Lester Chikumba said close to 141 people have been affected and that most of them never recovered any item.

He said that the cause of the fire is not yet known but suspicions are that it was due to an electrical fault.

Chikumba said it was sad that during the incident, instead of helping to put out the fire, some people took advantage of the situation and robbed other shops which were not even affected by the fire.

“Apart from those that were directly affected by the fire, many shops got robbed in the process by those that pretended to have come to help,” he said.

The Chairperson said measures would be put in place to make sure that only those that have been affected are the ones to benefit from whatever help government may provide.

Mitundu market is one of the biggest markets in Traditional Authority (TA) Chitseka and it generates huge amounts of revenue for Lilongwe District Council.

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