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Thursday, 26 January 2023 14:58

Status On Disasters And Response Operations

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) in the office of the President and Cabinet would like to update the general public on the status of disasters and response operations in the 2022/23 rainfall season.

As of Wednesday, 18th January; 2023, disasters; mainly stormy rains, floods, strong winds, heavy rains, halistorms and lightning; have affected 27 councils namely; Balaka, Blantyre City, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dedza, Dowa, Karonga, Kasungu, Lilongwe District, Machinga, Mangochi District, Mchinji, Mulanje, Mwanza, Mzimba, Mzuzu City, Neno, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Ntcheu, Ntchisi, Phalombe, Salima, Thyolo, Zomba City and Zomba District.

Cumulatively, 16,427 households (approximately 73,921 people), have been affected. The death toll has risen from 49 (as reported in our previous update); to 56 this week. Lightning strikes have killed 30 people while 26 died due to collapsed walls following stormy rains and strong winds. So far, 145 people have sustained various degree of injuries. As indicated earlier on, the disasters have also caused damage to roads, schools and hospitals . The department has also received fresh reports on disasters from Zomba, Karonga, Mangochi, Kasungu, Chitipa, Mzuzu, and Kasungu Councils.

Currently, the department has reached out to 10,427 households (approximately 45,621 people) with relief assistance which include food and non-food items namely; maize, family tents, housing units, kitchen utensils and plastic sheets for temporary roofing. Provision of relief assistance is on-going and the department will reach out to all the affected people as per the reports from affected councils.

The general public will be duly informed regarding the status of disasters and any related developments.

For more information, please contact the Public Relations Officer, Mr. Chipiliro Raymond Khamula, on +265 (0) 999 043 228, (0) 884 572 844 E-mail; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Issued in Lilongwe on the 18th Day of January, 2023.

Charles Kalemba

COMMISSIONER FOR DISASTER

MANAGEMENT AFFAIRS

Disaster Risk Reduction is Everyone’s Responsibility!

The picture detail the provision of relief assistance to people affected by strong winds at Likoma Island

Photo credit: Likoma District Council.

 

Japan’s Ota and Minato Cities and the Japan Relief and Clothing Centre have donated various food and non-food relief items to assist households as they recover from the devastating effects of Tropical Storm Ana.

Part of the donated items; which include 3,000 buckets, 6,000 plates, 6,000 cups, 3,000 spoons, 3,000 forks, 600 litres cooking oil, 500 kgs sugar, 3,000 packets of noodles, 13 water purification equipment, 350 bars of soap; 25,000 pieces and 809 cartons of assorted clothes; have since been distributed to a total of 383 households, who voluntarily relocated to a safer place in Traditional Authority (T/A) Ngabu, Chikwawa following the effects of Ana and Tropical Cyclone Gombe.

A total of 441 households from TA Lundu, who also relocated to a safer place in TA Maseya in the same district, will benefit from the remaining items this week.

Speaking in Chikwawa on Monday (16th January, 2023) First Secretary (Trade) in the Office of the Malawi Embassy to Japan Gracious Soko, said they will continue to work with a number of partners back in Japan to support the affected.

“Following the declaration of state of disaster by the State President, His Excellency Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, our office in Japan engaged a number of partners for assistance, Ota and Minato Cities and the Japan Relief and Clothing Centre offered their enormous support. The donated items were supposed to be in the country sometime back but we encountered a number of logistical challenges.

“We have taken note of some of the challenges you are facing following your relocation. Notable amongst the challenges is access to clean and potable water. We will continue to engage our partners in Japan for short, medium and long-term solutions,” said Soko.

In his remarks, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs’(DoDMA) Deputy Director of Response Fyawupi Mwafongo asked Soko to extend a vote of thanks to the two cities and the clothing company for the gesture; and called upon the beneficiaries to use the items for their intended purpose.

“Ota and Minato Cities also donated US$ 33,650.81 which has been largely used for clearing and logistical arrangements. The donated items are not for sale. Let us respect the purpose of which the donations were made,” said Mwafongo.

He then commended the beneficiaries for voluntarily moving to a safer place saying government is committed to supporting any efforts aimed at reducing disaster risks and building resilience of communities to disasters.

“We are so committed to ensuring that you become a model village and ultimate reference on the importance of relocation,” said Mwafongo.

On his behalf, Matsukambiya Camp Chairperson Abraham Kambewa said the donation will go a long way towards alleviating some of the challenges they are facing as they try to get back to their feet.

“It rained heavily on the night of 9th January, 2022; we lost everything; clothes, kitchen utensils, household property, livestock and foodstuffs. The effects were so devastating, we survived by grace. This donation means a lot,” said Kambewa.

He then called upon government and partners to assist in ensuring that the place has access to clean and potable water.

 

Final year students in Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Food Science Programme from the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) on Friday (13th January; 2023) paid an educational visit at the Humanitarian Staging Area (HSA) in Bangula; Nsanje where they shared practical experiences with humanitarian actors focusing in nutrition in emergencies.

The HSA was established to fast truck coordination and response to disasters in the Lower Shire.

The students, who also donated clothes to people affected by disasters in Nsanje; paid a visit to Ndiola; one of the rivers the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has, under the Disaster Risk Management for Resilience Project; dredged through the Department of Water Resources (DWR) to reduce flood risks.

Speaking during the visit, the class’ representatives Gracian Banda and Kondwani Gondwe said the visit gave them a practical experience in handling nutrition during emergencies.

In his remarks, Lecturer and Deputy Head of LUANAR’s Department of Human Nutrition and Health Lloyd Chauwa; said LUANAR appreciates the cordial working relationship that exists between the institution and DoDMA.

“The learning visits provide practical experiences for students. Last year, DoDMA hosted final year students under the same programme in Balaka in which they appreciated how issues of nutrition are addressed at an evacuation centre. Today, we have been hosted in Nsanje with the facilitation of the department and this shows how committed DoDMA is in sharing experiences with various stakeholders for effective implementation of disaster risk management (DRM) programmes,” said Chauwa.

Nsanje District Council’s Disaster Risk Management Desk Officer Patrick Sipuni commended LUANAR for the visit.

“As a district, we do not take the visit for granted. For us, this is a learning experience as we have discussed issues of nutrition with final year students who have fresh ideas with respect to the issue at hand,” said Sipuni.

He then applauded the students for the donation, saying it will go a long way in assisting some affected households from Traditional Authority (T/A) Ngabu, who were recently displaced by flash floods.

During the visit, Robert Manda, a nutrition expert and Nsanje District Coordinator for the Scaling Up Nutrition Project which is being implemented through the Hunger Project; made a presentation on Nutrition in Emergencies

 

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has trained humanitarian actors in Emergency Operation Center (EOC) services to enhance effectiveness and smooth operationalization of the EOC in the country ahead of the disaster season.

An EOC is a central command and control facility responsible for carrying out the principles of emergency preparedness and management.

Opening the session on Tuesday in Lilongwe, DoDMA’s Director of Preparedness and Response Moses Chimphepo said Malawi’s EOC Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) are not well understood and institutionalized by all humanitarian actors to be able to respond in the event of a sudden onset emergency.

Chimphepo said timely activation of an EOC is critical to its effectiveness, as well as clear operational capacity in terms of leadership, clarity of roles and responsibilities, physical space, equipment, human resources, finances, and vehicles hence the timely training to equip them with knowledge on EOC and SOPs.

“The overall aim for this EOC support is to enhance awareness raising and develop capacity among key stakeholders in Malawi.

"An inclusive process is required with DoDMA and cluster-level multi-stakeholder engagement to design, establish, develop capacity, awareness raising and roll-out of the EOC operations with full government leadership and ownership,” said Chimphepo.

He said the training will help in allocating and coordinating resources, provision of incident communications coordination, and overall disaster and emergency response operational coordination with key teams and response stakeholders.

With funding from the World Bank and Africa Development Bank (AfDB), DoDMA is currently constructing physical EOC infrastructure at national and sub-national levels.

Participants were drawn from UN agencies, government entities and other Non-Governmental Organizations.

Over the years, DoDMA has activated EOCs during key disasters dating back from the Phalombe landslide disaster in the early 90s, but often in an ad-hoc manner.

Hosted by DoDMA and UN Resident Coordinator’s office; the training was conducted by OCHA which is a part of the UN Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies and it was funded by ECHO through the Malawi Red Cross Society and Danish Red Cross, with venue provided by UNICEF.

 

 

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs says there is need to instill mindset change amongst various disaster risk management (DRM) stakeholders if the country were to make meaningful strides in building resilience and reducing climate-related risks.

Speaking on Thursday (12th January; 2023) in Salima District during the review of a report on the development of the national DRM successor policy, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs Charles Kalemba said it was high time policies and guidelines addressed mindset change to adapt to fast changing climate challenges and ever-increasing disasters the country is experiencing.

Said Kalemba; “Nature is not waiting for us, we need not to be slow otherwise we find ourselves lagging far behind nature. We need drastic changes in the way we formulate and implement our policies.”

“Policies need to go beyond the norm and address issues of living in disaster-prone areas and shape our way in breaking the food-insecurity cycle, it is inconceivable that as a people, we keep on being affected by food insecurity yet we have water bodies in abundance.”

He then called upon the technical working group on the development of the national DRM successor policy to fast-track the finalization while ensuring that the policy aligns with critical and emerging issues, laid down legal frameworks and the development blueprint.

The technical working group has since emphasized on ensuring that the successor policy is in line with the DRM bill which is currently under review.

DoDMA is coordinating the development of a successor national DRM policy following the elapsing of the predecessor policy’s implementation period in 2020.

The development of the successor policy is being conducted through a consultant with funding from the World Bank, under the Malawi Resilience and Disaster Risk Management Project (MRDRM), with the technical working group, which comprises various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and non-state actors providing technical expertise in line with their focus area.

 

Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba has warned duty bearers handling cash transfers and maize distribution under the Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Programme (LS-FIRP) against corruption, manipulation and forceful sharing of cash assistance and maize.

Kalemba said the tendency leaves vulnerable households food insecure because the rations and cash given are calculated to support the household for the period provided for.

Kalemba said this during interface meetings with District Commissioners for Salima, Nkhotakota, Nkhatabay and Mzuzu City to backstop preparedness for both the LS-FIRP and Emergency Response programmes.

He referred to what had happened in Balaka, Chikwawa and Phalombe where the World Food Programme (WFP) suspended the cash transfer exercise over claims that there were ghost beneficiaries in the beneficiary’s registry.

He said the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) will not condone lawlessness of individuals who abuse government resources by taking advantage of the vulnerable people who government and other humanitarian partners are helping to cushion hunger in their communities.

“The investigations that were done in conjunction with WFP established that there were ghost beneficiaries in the beneficiary’s registry which resulted in intended beneficiaries to be left out. It was also established that some chiefs and councilors force beneficiaries to share what they receive with them.

“Government is going to take stern actions to bring to book anyone found abusing the two exercises and the police should not spare anyone found practicing these malpractices,” he said.

He added that the department and other stakeholders are putting in place mechanisms that will empower communities to be self-reliant and food secure.

He said this will assist government to reduce provision of relief assistance and in the process curb the malpractices that are prevalent in most communities.

The District Commissioners and Chief Executive that were met in these councils committed to personally ensure that the response programmes are successful.

On his part, District Commissioner (DC) for Nkhatabay, Rodgers Newa pledged support saying those that will be reported to have committed such crimes will not be protected.

“I will personally be available to supervise these two initiatives and my office will not condone mismanagement of relief items and resources provided for the implementation of the response programmes,” said Newa.

Mzuzu Chief Executive Officer, Gomezgani Nyasulu conquered with Kalemba saying many people take advantage of such exercises and reap off targeted beneficiaries.

Nyasulu said government's commitment to end corruption should be everybody’s responsibility and his council will make sure that no corrupt practices take place in the programmes.

The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) projected that 3.8 million people will be food insecure hence government through DoDMA and other donor communities responding by providing maize and cash transfers to the affected.

 

Thursday, 26 January 2023 14:45

Status On Disasters And Response Operations

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) in the office of the President and Cabinet would like to update the general public on the status of disasters and response operations in the 2022/23 rainfall season.

As of Friday, 6th January; 2023, disasters; mainly stormy rains, floods, strong winds, heavy rains, halistorms and lightning; have affected 26 councils namely; Balaka, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dedza, Dowa, Karonga, Kasungu, Lilongwe District, Machinga, Mangochi District, Mchinji, Mulanje, Mwanza, Mzimba, Mzuzu City, Neno, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Ntcheu, Ntchisi, Phalombe, Salima, Thyolo and Zomba City and Zomba District.

Cumulatively, 12, 978 households (approximately 58,401 people), have been affected. The death toll has risen from 42 (as reported in our previous update); to 49 this week. Lightning strikes have killed 28 people while 21 died due to collapsed walls following stormy rains and strong winds. So far, 105 people have sustained various degree of injuries. As indicated earlier on, the disasters have also caused damage to roads, schools and hospitals . The department has also received preliminary reports on damages caused by heavy rains, strong winds and stormy rains that have affected Mulanje, Likoma and Mchinji Districts; respectively.

Currently, the department has reached out to 9,228 households (approximately 41,526 people) with relief assistance which include food and non-food items namely; maize, family tents, housing units, kitchen utensils and plastic sheets for temporary roofing. Provision of relief assistance is on-going and the department will reach out to all the affected people as per the reports from affected councils.

The general public will be duly informed regarding the status of disasters and any related developments.

 

Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), Charles Kalemba on Wednesday underscored the need for people to take weather forecasts seriously, saying people who deliberately choose to live in disaster prone areas will not be assisted with relief items.

Kalemba issued the warning in Salima during a disaster preparedness meeting with the District Civil Protection Committee (DCPC).

He said it is high time people took weather forecasts that warn on impending disasters seriously to prevent loss of lives and property.

“I have advised district councils not to register and distribute relief items to households who deliberately choose to continue living in areas that are prone to natural disasters especially floods, now that we are in the rainy season,”he said.

Kalemba discouraged the tendency of using disasters as a way of accessing free handouts.

He added; "Continuing providing such handouts is contributing to laziness in the communities. Our mindset has to change, we need to shift from being so dependent on receiving free items and start working hard in our farms and other income generating activities."

He also reiterated that DODMA is currently in a drive to decentralize disaster preparedness and response to councils.

He emphasized that during both Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Programme (LSFIRP) and emergency responses, assessment and identification of beneficiaries including distribution of relief items and cash transfers is the responsibility of the councils and therefore heads of councils should be fully responsible for such activities.

On her part, District Commissioner for Salima District Council Grace Chirwa Kanyimbiri said they will successfully implement the lean season response because identification of beneficiaries is currently underway.

Kanyimbiri said the district developed a disaster response plan which is a guiding tool on how the district will respond to disasters.

On 1st November last year, DoDMA rolled out the implementation of the 2022/23 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Programme targeting food insecure people following the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report which projected that 3.8 million people will be food insecure in 27 districts (except Likoma) and four cities of the country.

 

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