The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has called on councils in the country to enhance efforts aimed at reducing disaster risks if the country were to make significant strides in lessening disaster losses.
DoDMA’s Director of Disaster Response and Recovery Moses Chimphepo made the call on Monday in Salima District, when he officially opened a one-week training of trainers for four District Civil Protection Committees (DCPCs); organised with financial and technical assistance from UNICEF Malawi.
Chimphepo said year in and year out, the country responds to various disasters; particularly floods, strong winds, dry spells, droughts, lightning and road accidents.
“Government and its humanitarian partners are spending huge sums of money on the provision of relief assistance to the affected households. While provision of relief assistance to people affected by disasters is necessary to alleviate suffering, there is need to address the underlying risk factors in order to reduce the impacts of disasters in the country,” said Chimphepo.
He then called upon the DCPC members to extend the acquired knowledge to area and village civil protection committees-local structures responsible for implementing various disaster risk management (DRM) programmes at group village and traditional authority’s levels, respectively.
In her remarks, UNICEF Malawi Emergency Specialist, Estere Tsoka said there is need to enhance skills and knowledge so that councils respond effectively to emergencies.
“Your role as local councils in the humanitarian setting is highly recognised, it is important that there should be some efforts to invest in the capacity of local councils for effective implementation of disaster risk management programmes,” said Tsoka.
In March 2019, Cyclone Idai-induced floods affected 17 councils of the country, leaving 60 people dead, 672 injured and 87,000 displaced. A Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report indicated that the total value of the effects of the March 2019 floods stood at US$220.2m while US$370m was required for recovery and reconstruction.
The training, which brought together DCPC members from Dowa, Ntchisi, Nkhotakota and Mchinji was organised to equip DCPCs with knowledge in DRM and effectively carry out their roles.