By Malawi Exclusive
President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, who is also minister responsible for Disaster Management Affairs, has called for coordinated efforts in implementing various Disaster Risk Management (DRM) programmes.
Speaking in Chikwawa on Sunday when he cheered people affected by disasters at Bereu, Nchalo and Jombo camps, Chakwera said the country can make meaningful strides in DRM if all stakeholders joined hands in managing disasters.
On 9th, 13th and 14th January 2022, the district received heavy rains which caused Mwanza, Mkombezi, Nthumba and Thangadzi rivers to flood, affecting a total of 3333 households, of which 2888 were displaced and are living in 12 camps set in the district.
Chakwera said he was so impressed with the commitment the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) in his office, in collaboration with Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS)have shown towards responding to disasters that have hit Lower Shire and other parts of the country.
“I have been informed that MRCS and my department responded instantly; reaching out to people rendered destitute following the disasters. There is a lot that needs to be done hence my call for a well-coordinated and continued partnership as we strive to reduce disaster risks and save lives and property,” said Chakwera, who is also the patron for MRCS.
Responding to challenges stated by chiefs as aggravating the occurrence of flash floods and he promised that these will be addressed as soon as possible.
Among issues raised by the chiefs include the poorly constructed dykes and road drainage infrastructure which they said were poorly designed and constructed.
Chakwera warned that he will take action against contractors who offer substandard works as they fatten their pockets at the expense of risking people’s lives.
On his part, Paramount Lundu asked for more relief assistance saying the displaced people have lost everything and have nowhere to go.
Lundu also questioned the engineering works at Nkombezi bridge which he claims was poorly constructed and is aggravating flooding.
In his remarks, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba said the department will work closely with MRCS to ensure that the affected receive necessary support and that lessons in schools where people have sought refuge at will not be disturbed.
“We have provided tents and we are also making arrangements to bring some more tents and housing units to ensure that the displaced move out of the classroom blocks by Monday, to pave way for learners,” said Kalemba.
Disasters, mostly stormy rains, strong winds, flash floods and lightning have affected 19,605 households, killing 34 people and leaving 228 injured since July, 2021.