Environment

Natural disasters derailing gains Malawi has made

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) says Malawi has not fully recovered from natural disasters and calamities as the country has been hit by one disaster after another; a development which has derailed the gains made over the years.

Deputy Director responsible for resilience and recovery Hastings Mwanjoka made the remarks in Mponela during a stakeholder engagement nexus between adaptation and loss and damage.

 “Every year we’re hit by disasters, we’re failing to progress and this takes away the gains made. We’re failing to quantity because of these disasters’

He underscored on the need to work in coordination with relevant stakeholders to manage the disasters which the country has been experiencing from 2015 to-date which he noted is bringing a lot of setbacks and affecting implementation of recovery programmes.

Among others, he cited the COVID-19 pandemic, vandalism of infrastructure making it difficult to repair them which have affected the implementation of a lot of projects.

Mwanjoka: It was the first time for flooding to happen in Dwangwa

He further bemoaned the inadequate public investments in recovery and resilience noting that most partners are keen on response efforts only.

Mwanjoka highlighted the limited capacity investments and involvement of the private sector in recovery and resilience interventions.

Responding to queries on why the Department seemed ill-prepared with the recent Nkhotakota floods if its response was anything to go by, when the Department of climate change and meteorological services had already issued an alert, Mwanjoka admitted the floods were unprecedented as it was the first time for flooding to happen in Dwangwa.

He clarified that DoDMA only does coordination while implementation is done by councils and acknowledged capacity building gaps adding its mandate is to build capacity in terms of career development with the few resources it has.

Nonetheless, he indicated that the Department of disaster management works around the clock with the Metrological Department and managed to rescue people to safety.

The Nkhotakota floods captured in this MANA file footage

“It’s hectic and it was not easy for Dwangwa. In this work we need to join hands. Dwangwa Sugar Company helped through a lot of interventions. We have the capacity to do it; we don’t have the actual expertise but we can coordinate response activities”.

The Deputy Director further stated that despite being warned of the impending disasters, people still have the old mindset and cling to flood prone areas.

“For Cyclone Freddy, the people wanted to prove if it’ll indeed materialize, and people were still reluctant that this is not true; but those who did not move they really saw it”

Another contentious issue during the meeting was the revelation of a National wide multi hazard risk assessment to be done by a consultant who’ll make a profile of the whole country on high risk areas.

Some of the participants who attended the stakeholder engagement

He defended DoDMA‘s hiring of a consultant to do the work on the multi hazard risk assessment.

“We want the consultant to have the actual research the assessment, to have vivid information at hand and concrete understanding of high risk countries, want a holistic profiling of the whole country of the high risk area this is why we’ll proceed with an international consultant.

“The financing is supported by others donors who wanted someone who’s very experienced and they’re guided by the understanding of what they want”

Gladys Nthenda

A journalist with over 10 years all round media experience in Television, print, radio, and online platforms with a particular interest in health and climate change reporting. I love writing stories on vulnerable and marginalized societies to bring about the necessary change in their lives. Loves travelling, reading news related articles and listening to all genres of music. emailg79@gmail.com

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