Members of Parliament on Wednesday passed the much-awaited Disaster Risk Management Bill, which seeks to repeal the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act (Cap. 33:05).
When assented to by the Head of State, the passed Bill will align with developments in the area of disaster preparedness, risk reduction, and response and recovery, according to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Titus Mvalo.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resource and Climate Change, Werani Chilenga, applauded lawmakers for passing the bill, saying it will help in dealing with the effects of disasters that might occur due to climate change.
Commenting on the bill, Commissioner of Disaster Charles Kalemba said the passing of the bill should be commended because it is a milestone as now the country be prepared for any disaster that might occur.
He added that the bill will help to reduce risks.
Kalemba emphasized that the bill empowers the government to be able to decide on which areas to be habited or not and enforce it by law.
Reacting to the news, Julius Ng’oma National Coordinator for the Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC) said that today is a big win for Malawians as Parliament has passed the bill.
Ng’oma pointed out that although the bill is essential in the country, it has some gaps as it is actually not considering critical issues that need to be addressed such as the omission that has been made on the provision for a separate vote for disaster risk management so that Parliament can appropriate resources to the department of disaster management affairs.
Ng’oma also said the law is missing a crucial area where the law is supposed to be setting up a commission with powers that can be able to help in implementing this law.
“We have also seen a number of gaps which also include the issue of decentralization is not well articulated in the law. There are mentions of committees at different levels but the coordination of the committees to actually help us to implement the law and some other functions still needs to be worked on,” said Ng’oma.