An inferno has swept through the Provincial general stores building in Chinsali District of Muchinga Province destroying all medical items and storage facilities worth millions of kwacha.
All the vaccines, drugs and storage equipment including documents for the entire Province have been burnt and reduced to ashes.
The fire brigade teams that rushed to the scene with two fire trucks struggled to put off the fire as the only source of water was about 10 kilometers from the hospital.
The fire is believed to have started in the afternoons of yesterday around 12:00 hours leaving the entire facility completely empty.
Muchinga Province Permanent Secretary Joyce Nsamba who was present at the scene has described the fire accident as a disaster.
She said the fire accident is a huge loss to the government because it had spent huge sums of money on the procurement of drugs and vaccines that have been destroyed by fire.
The PS has since commended the Chinsali Fire Brigade for managing to put of the fire after 5 hours despite some challenges.
“I was in the field monitoring NRC mobile issuance exercise when I received a call that the general stores was on fire and I quickly rushed here. I want to thank the fire brigade for their quick and prompt response, “the PS said.
And acting Provincial Health Director Charles Chungu has expressed shock at the development.
Dr Chungu said the facility that has been burnt stores drugs and vaccines for all the nine (9) districts of Muchinga Province including equipment and documents.
“This storage facility carters for the whole province and all vaccines and drugs are kept right here for all the districts in Muchinga Province,” Dr Chungu lamented.
He said the gutting of the building including the storage facilities where all drugs and vaccines were kept under the required temperatures is a big loss to the Districts, Province and the Ministry of Health.
Dr Chungu said the cause of the fire is not yet known adding that there was no electricity due to maintenance works by ZESCO but that the facility was powered using a gen-set.
Meanwhile, Muchinga Province Police Commissioner Joel Njase who was also present at the scene said the fire accident is unfortunate.
Engineer Njase said the Police through the forensics experts in the service will do its part in ascertaining the cause of the fire within the shortest possible time.
He has since warned that should it be found that the fire was started on purpose by an individual, the law will take its cause without fear or favour.
“We will get to the bottom of this and if we discover that someone was behind this the law will visit them accordingly,” he warned.
Chinsali residents including health workers and patients from their hospital beds rushed out watch as the storage facility was burning down to ashes.
The general storage facility building was built in 2011with support from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Source: Lusaka Times