The World Food Programme (WFP) and the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) have established a Humanitarian Staging Area (HSA) hub at Bangula in Nsanje to fast truck coordination and response to disasters in the Lower Shire.
DoDMA says the establishment of the HSA will help humanitarian partners to coordinate, respond effectively and timely manage disasters as they occur.
Speaking after the launch of the hub over the weekend at Bangula, Nsanje; Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs Charles Kalemba said this is one of the great milestones that WFP and DoDMA have undertaken as it will help to preposition commodities that will be required in case there is a disaster in the Lower Shire.
Kalemba said the facility will help to stock commodities and equipment that are essential during disasters.
“You may recall that during Tropical Storm Ana and Cyclone Gombe, it was difficult for us and other humanitarian partners to serve the affected families as the roads were cut off. This facility is an answer to such kind of challenges.”
“We have already prepositioned food and non-food items such as maize, rescuing boats and shelter materials so that response to disasters in Chikwawa and Nsanje should not be as difficult as it has been.
Kalemba added that the hub will also be used as a training centre for humanitarian activities.
He hailed WFP for the commitment and urged other stakeholders to follow suit in financing such facilities and make good use of them.
In her remarks, WFP Acting Country Director, Patrizia Papinutti hailed the collaboration between WFP and DoDMA in ensuring that the project is undertaken as planned.
She stated that having centers like the one in Bangula will improve humanitarian work in Malawi and enhance coordination amongst stakeholders.
“The project is crucial as it will enhance coordination during disasters and that it will bring together all clusters and organizations in preparedness towards disaster management.”
“It was discovered that coordination is always a challenge during disasters and this development comes to address that,” she said.
Malawi Red Cross Society’s Acting Response and Recovery Specialist Mercy Chalimba, concurred with Kalemba and Papinutti saying the hub is a huge milestone in coordination of disaster response as stakeholders implement humanitarian support.
She said stakeholders have been faced with mobility challenges when disasters occur and that the establishment of the hub will enable timely response in serving lives of the affected.
“We welcome this development as it will help all humanitarian partners to reach the affected places in good time,” said Chalimba.
Kalemba said such facilities are planned for Blantyre in the upper south, Lilongwe or Ntcheu in the centre, Mzuzu and Karonga in the north and Mangochi in the eastern region.