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Items filtered by date: November 2020
The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) is constructing evacuation centres [places designed to host displaced populations from any type of disasters] in five districts of Chikwawa, Balaka, Phalombe, Zomba and Mangochi.
The five districts were amongst the worst hit during the March 2019 Cyclone Idai-induced floods which displaced about 87, 000 people and affected a total of 15 districts and two cities. The displaced sought refuge in schools, churches and relations’ houses.
The department’s Mitigation Officer, Hanke Ndau, said the construction of the centres is being funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), formerly Department for International Development, and is expected to be completed by end November this year.
Ndau said the centres will ease pressure on education facilities, especially in circumstances where displaced households seek refuge in nearby schools.
Speaking during a recent monitoring visit to the construction sites, UNDP Malawi Programme Analyst for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction, Sothini Nyirenda, said a total of US$2.3 million (about K1.7 billion) has been spent in the construction of the centres.
“We are using green construction materials and we are building the centres in very unstable places hence the need to invest in very strong reinforcements. We are using certified contractors and we have invested a lot in the sub-structure so that the centres remain intact and withstand any possible hazard,” said Nyirenda.
Village Head Luwembe of T/A Chimwala, Mangochi District, said the centres offer a ray of hope for preservation of human dignity amidst displacement.
“I am delighted to learn that the centre will have separate apartments and sanitary facilities for women, men, boys and girls. In our case, we are surrounded by a number of rivers and flooding is inevitable during the rainy season. Floods leave a lot of people destitute and they have no option but to seek refuge in nearby church halls, mosques and schools, which have no facilities for hosting the displaced.
“In a church and school hall setting; men, women, boys and girls mix up, this compromises human dignity, halts the learning process and puts the girl child and women prone to sexual exploitation and abuse,” said Luwembe.
Photo detail progress made as of 30th October, 2020.

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has called on officers to involve vulnerable communities in formulating and implementing various disaster risk management (DRM) activities, which include risk reduction, response and recovery operations.

Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, James Chiusiwa, made the call in Salima during an orientation workshop for 18 newly recruited relief and rehabilitation officers (RROs) deployed in various district councils in the country.

Chiusiwa observed that vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly and people with disabilities are key in disaster risk management and their involvement is a hub for strengthening community resilience to disasters.

“We need to create a culture of safety and this entails that we involve children, people with disabilities, the elderly and other vulnerable groups in DRM. We need to empower and equip children with knowledge that will be central in building resilience of communities to disasters and I encourage you to form DRM school clubs in the districts under your jurisdiction,” said Chiusiwa.

In his remarks, UNICEF Malawi Chief of Community Development and Resilience, Matteo Frontini, said involvement of children and adolescents is key in disaster preparedness.

“We are working in collaboration with government and other UN agencies and we do believe in the added value we can bring in disaster preparedness activities, enabling child-friendly and resilient communities in a child centred approach.

“Children are future generations and therefore, important for community level’s preparedness,” said Matteo through a video conference call.

The five-day orientation workshop has been organised with financial support from UNICEF Malawi and the Malawi Government and seeks to equip RROs with knowledge on DRM, which will assist them to effectively undertake their responsibilities.