The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has called for coordinated and concerted efforts amongst government institutions in reducing and mitigating the impact of disasters.
Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs Charles Kalemba made the call on Saturday (30th April, 2022) in Mzuzu when he visited areas affected by flash floods and landslides that came about as a result of incessant rains.
Kalemba said it was high time government institutions worked together to ensure that they protect lives and property of people at risk of disasters.
“We have government institutions providing services that are not in tandem with the tenets of disaster risk reduction and resilience. In Masasa, people are constructing houses in fragile areas. Unfortunately, utility bodies are connecting water and electricity to the houses in question. This is not what is supposed to happen, when the city council declares an area inhabitable or fragile, no utility body should go about connecting structures erected in such areas,” said Kalemba.
He then called upon the Mzuzu City Council to come up with mechanisms aimed at ensuring that no one settles in disaster prone areas, saying government is spending funds that would have been channelled to developmental activities, in responding to man-made disasters.
“We have seen people in Chibavi constructing houses in dambo areas, this is a recipe for disasters. There is need to devise mechanisms to manage and protect water ways,” said Kalemba.
In his remarks, Mzuzu City Council Chief Executive Officer Gomegzani Nyasulu concurred with Kalemba saying the council will work with other stakeholders to find lasting solutions aggravating the occurrence of flash floods.
“People are being forced to construct in disaster prone areas due to high poverty levels as most of them rely on piece works and small-scale businesses to make ends meet. As a council, in collaboration with other stakeholders, we need to put in in place some mechanisms to provide sustainable solutions in terms of housing underprivileged communities,” said Nyasulu.
Meanwhile, government; through DoDMA; has provided relief assistance to households that have been affected by flash floods and landslides in Mzuzu City. The affected required immediate assistance of food and non-food relief items such as housing units, blankets, kitchen utensils and plastic sheets for temporary roofing.
Government has also provided relief assistance to over 1,500 and 239 households that were recently affected by flash floods and strong winds disasters in Karonga and Nkhata Bay Districts; respectively.