The concern was made Sunday when the Department of Disaster Management Affairs through the Karonga District Council (KDC) aided with relief items to over 600 households affected by flash floods and heavy winds in the area of Traditional Authority Kyungu and Wasambo.
In an interview, Alby Sichali, narrated how her family and relatives have been struggling to access basic necessities such as food since her home was destroyed in the floods that occurred on the night of December 30, 2022.
“While we appreciate the assistance that Government has rendered to us but we feel the support has come late as we have been suffering for about seven weeks hence our appeal for speedy response and action to aid flood victim sufferers,” she said.
Concurring with Sichali, Advocate Mbale, said the delays in the provision of relief items to flood victims have left a lot of bitterness in Government and partners from the victims as they felt alone and helpless since the floods.
On his part Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace under the Karonga Diocis Desk Officer Lewis Nkhata, observed that there was a need for Government to decentralize issues of disaster management affairs by giving more power to local government levels.
“Issues of floods and other disasters are emergency issues that must be dealt with swiftly by decision-makers in the districts otherwise when reports of disasters have to be sent to the central government the issues no longer become emergencies as in most cases government is slow to act and respond to the problems,” NKhata explained.
However reacting to the concerns Shepard Jeri Relief and Rehabilitation Officer for Karonga District Council, while acknowledging the late response in the provision of relief items disclosed that the Council was in the process of securing a warehouse to keep commodities for a fast response to aid households affected by disasters in the district.
Adding that the process had reached an advanced stage that will see the delays of late responses to victims hit by such disasters become a thing of the past.
Among other items that were distributed included a 50-kilogram bag of the maze, plastic sheets, blankets, and jerry cans.