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.