The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) and Disaster Risk Management (DRM) partners on Thursday 13th October,2022 commemorated the 2022 International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) at Gosheni Primary School ground in Dedza district.
The day was globally commemorated under the theme ‘Early warning Early Action for All;’ offering an opportunity to reflect on the successes and challenges encountered during implementation of DRM programmes and policies in the country.
Speaking during the ceremony, guest of honour at the event, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of water and sanitation, Elias Chimulambe said this year’s theme is sending out a message that weather, climate and water extremes are becoming more frequent and intense hence the need to inform the communities to act.
“We all know what happens when there is an occurrence of disasters in our midst. As such, it is of paramount importance to celebrate this day and warn each other. It is up to all of us as Government, stakeholders and the citizenly to put in place various strategies of early warning and action,” said Chimulambe.
He said that the Department of Climate Change and Metrological Services (DCCMS) have released a seasonal forecast and that stakeholders and other ministries are working hard to make sure that systems are in place to issue warnings on possible signs of disasters.
He called on communities to desist from vandalizing early warning gadgets in all sites where they were installed saying this may hinder government’s efforts in saving lives of people.
“May I call upon leaders and relevant partners to hold sensitization meetings on the equipment so that people are aware of the gadgets,” he said.
In his speech, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs; Charies Kalemba thanked all stakeholders for their cordial partnership in DRM and urged for continued support.
“Our mandate as DoDMA is to coordinate the implementation of DRM programmes in the country and make sure that all stakeholders play their part so that we can save lives and property. The issue we are discussing today is early warning, as such there is need for us to prepare now without leaving anyone behind,” said Kalemba.
He said the department will soon start drenching the rivers in the lower shire as one way of preparedness so that the areas are not prone to flooding as it has been in the previous years.
He said the decision to drench the rivers was reached upon after observing that most of the flooding happens because there is no water carriage way.
“We are working with the ministry of water and sanitation so that we drench the rivers soon before rains start,” he said.
On her part, Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) Director of programs, Prisca Chisala said this year’s theme and the commemoration had come at the right time when the country is to face normal to above normal rains as it was last year which may trigger the occurrence of floods.
Chisala said there is need for stakeholders and government to really emphasize on the need for people to take responsibility on how they respond to warnings DCCMS and other stakeholders issue.
“We have started on a very good note engaging communities and stressing that it is their responsibility to act on early warning messages and we hope that the response towards that will be positive as compared to last year,” said Chisala.
She said MRCS will continue supporting government in making a contribution towards the national resilient strategy which mainly focuses on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).
She called upon other actors to invest more in early warning and action and other preparedness activities to help save lives and property.