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Items filtered by date: September 2022
Authorities responsible for disaster risk management (DRM) in Madagascar have called for close collaboration with Malawi in implementing various DRM programmes.
Speaking in Lilongwe on Monday (5th September, 2022) during a DRM stakeholders’ engagement meeting, as part of the authorities’ DRM technical exchange visit to Malawi, the Technical Advisor of the Director General for Madagascar’s National Disaster Management Agency (BNGRC) Bruno Emmanuel Randriaharihaja said it was high time the two countries intensified cooperation in disaster management to address their challenges.
“Madagascar is a disaster-prone Island and faces similar challenges that often affect Malawi. This year alone, we experienced six cyclones, including Tropical Storm Ana, whose effects were so devastating. We are also aware that Ana caused devastating effects in Malawi.
“In view of this, it is of paramount importance that we share best preparedness practices, experiences and work together in addressing the challenges we are facing. I would also like to thank the Government of Malawi through DoDMA [Department of Disaster Management Affairs], the World Food Programme, Malawi Red Cross Society - MRCS and other stakeholders for facilitating and coordinating the provision of assistance to households affected by cyclones,” said Randriaharihaja.
In his remarks, DoDMA’s Director of Disaster Response and Recovery Rev. Moses Chimphepo concurred with Randriaharihaja saying the magnitude and frequency of disasters Madagascar, Malawi and other SADC countries face is alarming and there was need for effective collaboration and coordination amongst countries and various stakeholders.
“The technical exchange visit and the stakeholders’ engagement meeting comes at a right time when both countries are reeling from the impacts of cyclones and other disasters in previous season and also putting in place strategies and interventions for recovery as well as preparedness for this season following the release of the 2022/2023 SADC Regional Seasonal Forecast (SARCOF).
“Therefore, the experience, knowledge and information shared during this technical exchange visit will go a long way to inform our respective institutions’ operations and capacities to address the impacts of disasters in our countries and resilience building,” said Chimphepo.
The exchange visit, which has been facilitated with technical and financial support from the World Food Programme under the South-South Cooperation Programme, will provide a platform for sharing experiences, lessons learnt and suggested solutions in the implementation of DRM programmes.
Among others, the BNGRC will visit sites for community-based early warning systems, the DoDMA Ntcheu Warehouse for central level warehousing, Evacuation Centre in Balaka, the Malawi Red Cross Society Logistics Warehouse and the Humanitarian Staging Area in Bangula.
Thursday, 22 September 2022 07:49

DoDMA calls for enhanced disaster preparedness

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has encouraged councils to plan and put in place measures to address impacts of disasters that might be experienced during the forthcoming rainy season.
The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) will soon be releasing the seasonal forecast which will inform the country what might be experienced during the season, in terms of rainfall.
At regional level, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) secretariat convened a Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) meeting and its outcome indicates that the bulk of the region is likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall just like last season.
The predictions are for the period October-November-December 2022 and January-February-March 2023.
Speaking on Thursday in Blantyre when he opened a two-day orientation meeting organized for council officials from the south and eastern regions, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs Charles Kalemba said that even though the down-scaled seasonal forecast for Malawi is not yet out, the meeting was organized to prepare the councils to plan and put in place measures to address possible impacts of disasters.
Kalemba said the seasonal forecast forms the basis for contingency planning for anticipated disasters during the season hence the need to prepare rather than being reactive.
He said that contingency plans will ensure that councils have prepositioned equipment, relief items and put in place well outlined coordination measures enabling them to respond to any disaster occurrence in the councils.
He said: “The contingency plan is envisaged to improve the quality of humanitarian response. The district contingency plan will also enhance effectiveness, appropriateness and timeliness of response to disasters.
“The other benefits of the plan are that it would further help as a tool for mobilizing resources, strengthening coordination through the sharing of roles and responsibilities as well as establishment of relationships with partners and stakeholders at local authority level.”
Representing Phalombe district council, Director of Planning and Development (DPD) Eric Kenamu commended DoDMA for the timely meeting saying it lessens the burden councils bear when disasters occur due to poor planning.
Kenamu said that the training was an eye opener to all councils as it will help them to prepare standardized contingency plans.
“If you compare the contingency plans, you will note that there has been no standardization in the way they are developed and in many cases hard for us to implement as most of the things included were not realistic. The training has challenged us to prepare only that which we can undertake for the well- being of the communities,” he said.
Kalemba then called upon all councils to reflect on the challenges and lessons learnt from implementation of last year’s contingency plans and come up with action points on how best they will implement the ones developed this year.
“The process that you will start today should not be considered as the end of the journey. Contingency planning is a process. As such, when you get back, you will need to sit down with other stakeholders, including NGOs to put together the realistic contingency plans. You will also have to finalize the plan once DCCMS releases the downscaled rainfall seasonal forecast,” said Kalemba.
Kalemba also informed the councils that President Dr Lazarus Chakwera, as Minister responsible for disaster management affairs, has emphasized that DoDMA should be vigilant so that no one dies of hunger and that all disasters must be attended to effectively to make sure that loss of life and property is abetted.
In this regard he informed the councils that they should take it upon themselves to make sure that they are on the look out so that any adverse situation in their councils is assessed and reported accordingly.
Thursday, 22 September 2022 07:39

DoDMA calls for enhanced disaster preparedness

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has encouraged councils to plan and put in place measures to address impacts of disasters that might be experienced during the forthcoming rainy season.
The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) will soon be releasing the seasonal forecast which will inform the country what might be experienced during the season, in terms of rainfall.
At regional level, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) secretariat convened a Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) meeting and its outcome indicates that the bulk of the region is likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall just like last season.
The predictions are for the period October-November-December 2022 and January-February-March 2023.
Speaking on Thursday in Blantyre when he opened a two-day orientation meeting organized for council officials from the south and eastern regions, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs Charles Kalemba said that even though the down-scaled seasonal forecast for Malawi is not yet out, the meeting was organized to prepare the councils to plan and put in place measures to address possible impacts of disasters.
Kalemba said the seasonal forecast forms the basis for contingency planning for anticipated disasters during the season hence the need to prepare rather than being reactive.
He said that contingency plans will ensure that councils have prepositioned equipment, relief items and put in place well outlined coordination measures enabling them to respond to any disaster occurrence in the councils.
He said: “The contingency plan is envisaged to improve the quality of humanitarian response. The district contingency plan will also enhance effectiveness, appropriateness and timeliness of response to disasters.
“The other benefits of the plan are that it would further help as a tool for mobilizing resources, strengthening coordination through the sharing of roles and responsibilities as well as establishment of relationships with partners and stakeholders at local authority level.”
Representing Phalombe district council, Director of Planning and Development (DPD) Eric Kenamu commended DoDMA for the timely meeting saying it lessens the burden councils bear when disasters occur due to poor planning.
Kenamu said that the training was an eye opener to all councils as it will help them to prepare standardized contingency plans.
“If you compare the contingency plans, you will note that there has been no standardization in the way they are developed and in many cases hard for us to implement as most of the things included were not realistic. The training has challenged us to prepare only that which we can undertake for the well- being of the communities,” he said.
Kalemba then called upon all councils to reflect on the challenges and lessons learnt from implementation of last year’s contingency plans and come up with action points on how best they will implement the ones developed this year.
“The process that you will start today should not be considered as the end of the journey. Contingency planning is a process. As such, when you get back, you will need to sit down with other stakeholders, including NGOs to put together the realistic contingency plans. You will also have to finalize the plan once DCCMS releases the downscaled rainfall seasonal forecast,” said Kalemba.
Kalemba also informed the councils that President Dr Lazarus Chakwera, as Minister responsible for disaster management affairs, has emphasized that DoDMA should be vigilant so that no one dies of hunger and that all disasters must be attended to effectively to make sure that loss of life and property is abetted.
In this regard he informed the councils that they should take it upon themselves to make sure that they are on the look out so that any adverse situation in their councils is assessed and reported accordingly.
Thursday, 22 September 2022 07:16

DoDMA in development of a DRM successor policy

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has embarked on processes for the development of a National Disaster Risk Management (NDRM) successor policy.
DoDMA’s Chief Economist Boyd Hamela says the implementation period for the NDRM predecessor policy, which was developed in 2015, elapsed in 2020 and there was need to put in place a policy which encompasses emerging issues and enhance effective implementation and coordination of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) programmes in the country, in line with laid down legal frameworks and development blueprint.
Said Hamela: “The frequency and magnitude at which disasters are occurring is so alarming, again; there have been the development of legal frameworks and development plans for instance the DRM Bill and the Malawi 2063. The successor policy needs to speak to existing plans.
“Currently, we have embarked on stakeholder consultations, starting with council-based civil protection committees (CPCs) which are responsible for implementing various DRM programmes at council level. We will also make consultations with other DRM stakeholders such as the academia, the media, legal minds, climate change experts, development partners; among others, the views will greatly assist us in coming up with a policy that speaks to DRM issues we are facing as country.”
Speaking on Friday during one of the consultation meetings, District Commissioner for Salima Grace Chirwa-Kanyimbiri commended DoDMA for facilitating the development of the policy.
“Things are changing, we are experiencing much bigger disasters than the previous years and we need to review and come up with policies that address recent challenges and climate-related hazards that pose a great threat to communities and the country as a whole,” said Kanyimbiri.
The development of the DRM successor policy is being conducted with funding from the World Bank, under the Malawi Resilience and Disaster Risk Management Project (MRDRM).
DoDMA is developing the DRM successor policy through a consultant who is also facilitating the review of the DRM Policy (2015) and the development of the implementation, monitoring and evaluation strategy for the successor policy.
A total of 11 CPCs, one each from 11 district and city councils, are being consulted as part of the development of the DRM successor policy.
The successor policy is expected to be implemented from 2023 to 2030.
The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has threatened to terminate the irrigation scheme rehabilitation contract awarded to Sempha Construction Company for failing to meet contractual agreements.
Sempha was awarded the contract in July 2021 under DoDMA’s project, Post Cyclone Idai Emergency Recovery (PCIERP) to rehabilitate four irrigation schemes expected to benefit 2,108 farming families in Traditional Authorities (T/A) Ndamera, Tengani and Malemia in Nsanje.
According to PCIERP project management unit, the works were to be completed in December 2021 but was extended to February and due to effects of Tropical Storm Ana, it was again extended to end July.
In order to speed up the process, DoDMA called for a meeting early August where it ordered Sempha to deliver construction materials at Bangula warehouse and was given 45 days to deliver the materials and complete the works failing which; the contract would go into liquidated damages.
Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Charles Kalemba, in company of officials from the irrigation department, PCIERP and the council visited Bangula on Thursday to appreciate the quality of the delivered materials as per the agreement; but to their surprise, some materials were not part of the delivered consignment and the managing director did not show up for the meeting despite several reminders.
Kalemba said the situation was very annoying as it delays the intended beneficiaries to start benefiting and contribute to the country’s food basket but also make their homes food secure.
He said government has been so lenient with the contractor allowing the extension of the contract a number of times.
“The contractor was invited into this meeting but surprisingly he has failed to show up. Several attempts to call him has proved futile as he is not picking up the calls. He has delegated someone who has no information on the way forward and did not inform PCIERP of his failure to attend the meeting,” said Kalemba.
Kalemba said he was doubtful that the specified 45 days’ completion period would be met considering the amount of work to be done and the fact that only 19 days were remaining for the completion of the works.
He said: “Failure to attend this meeting shows that the contractor is not serious. And as it stands, they have failed to provide a plan that would give hope to the community on the way forward of the project and this calls for an action.”
When asked about the plan, Sempha Construction representative Patrick Phiri said he had come to show the commissioner and the team what they had delivered and had no any other information.
“I cannot lie that we have immediate plans to share with the communities on how we are going to proceed. I feel that they are some grey areas that need to be discussed with my boss,” said Phiri.
Phiri admitted that some materials like cables were missing on the delivered consignment and was quick to refer the issue to the managing director.
Communities surrounding the schemes have been complaining about the delay in rehabilitating the structures that was damaged by Cyclone Idai and threatened to chase away the contractor.
PCIERP is rehabilitating five Schemes, namely Makhapa, Mtolongo, Nyambembere, Mkuluwamitete and Chimwala-Mbangu.
Chimwala-Mbangu was constructed by CAS Construction Company and was handed over to the community who have already planted maize which is at tussling stage.
The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has trained gauge readers on how to collect accurate hydrological data, take care of the hydrological monitoring stations and disseminate flood warning messages.
Government of Malawi through DWR under the Scaling-Up the Use of Modernized Climate Information and Early warning Systems (M-CLIMES) project upgraded 22 hydrological monitoring stations in 10 districts.
According to M-CLIMES National Project Coordinator Ted Nyekanyeka, the project updated the gauge stations to enhance flood forecasting capacity of DWR and save lives from flood disasters.
Speaking in Mzuzu on Friday, DWR Principal Hydrologist, Chikondi Mbemba said the department brought together gauge readers from the 22 stations to equip them with skills on how best to record accurate data from the stations.
Mbemba said the training is important because it will make the gauge stations functional since they will be patronized frequently.
“The training will help us to obtain accurate data from the stations through the gauge readers and by engaging them, it will also make the gauge stations operational since they will be well looked after through the skills acquired.
He said some participants are new volunteers who needed capacity building.
He said: “The training also provided an opportunity for interactions to gauge readers learning from one other both on successes and challenges faced in their respective stations.”
The participants have been drawn from Zomba, Mangochi, Salima, Lilongwe, Nkhotakota, Nkhatabay, Mzimba, Kasungu, Karonga and Chitipa.
One of the participants, 53-year-old Glory Nyondo from Chambo station in Yotamu village Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwenewenya in Chitipa said she has learnt a lot from the training hoping that she will not provide wrong readings especially when the gauge has submerged.
Nyondo said her expertise in gauge reading was learned from her late brother and she really looked forward to the training for accurate readings.
“This is my first training since I volunteered to be a gauge reader having succeeded my late brother. I thank the department for the training and I hope that more trainings will flow to equip us with more knowledge in taking accurate readings to help the department make comprehensive decisions,” said Nyondo.
She however requested the department to provide them with honoraria’s and other working materials as a motivation as they have to keep the surroundings of the stations tidy as it is their working stations on a daily basis.
In his response, Mbemba said the requests are valid and attributed failure to pay honoraria’s to inadequate funding but said the ministry is lobbying district councils and National Water Resources Authority (NWRA) to include them in their budgets.
Another participant, 24 year-old Patrick Banda from Luwawa station in T/A Timbiri Nkhatabay commended DWR for such a timely training.
Banda said he has just finished his form 4 and that volunteering to be a gauge reader will keep him active as it is a hands-on job.
At the end of the training, each participant received a pack of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) which included gumboots, raincoats, work suits and a pair of socks.
The M-CLIMES project is being implemented by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), in collaboration with DWR, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS), Department of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES), Department of Fisheries (DoF), and the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) and aims at scaling up the use of early warning information to save lives at risk of climate-related hazards.
Farmers in Rumphi District have commended government for the Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) approach for improved food security and livelihoods in their communities.
The farmers made the commendation during a tour organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Scaling-Up the Use of Modernised Climate Information and Early Warning Systems (M-CLIMES) Project to appreciate how PICSA has transformed their lives.
PICSA is an approach that seeks to build resilience at the farm level by supporting decision-making through the integration of information on location-specific climate, crops, livestock, and livelihoods.
Government of Malawi, with the support from UNDP secured funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to undertake the M-CLIMES project which aims at scaling-up the use of modernized early warning systems (EWS) and climate information in 21 districts.
The project is being implemented by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), in collaboration with the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS), Department of Water Resources (DWR), Department of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES), Department of Fisheries (DoF), and the National Smallholder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM).
Speaking in Rumphi, one of the beneficiaries, lead farmer Winston Kanyenda from Thepwera Village Traditional Authority (T/A) Mwankhunikira said PICSA approach emphasizes practical hands-on methods that can easily be understood and utilized by farmers.
He said that the PICSA training has strengthened communities’ capacities for use of early warning systems and climate information in preparedness for response to climate related disasters.
“The training I underwent has made me more confident in planning and decision making about farming and livelihood enterprises. I now see farming as more of a business, and I often consult my fellow farmers on best practices,” said Kanyenda.
He said that from 2019, his family is now able to harvest about 50 bags weighing 90 kg each while previously; they used to harvest about 18 bags weighing 90 kg each on the same piece of land.
He said: “I have managed to purchase two goats, able to support my grandchild with school fees at Domasi Teachers’ Training College and soon will roof my newly built house.”
Another beneficiary, Edwin Nyirenda from Mwamubiliri Village said that what he harvests takes him through to the next farming season and that he is able to sell some of his produce to address needs at his household.
“PICSA has been an eye opener, I have managed to purchase two goats and renovate my house,” said Nyirenda.
He said that through PICSA trainings, he has been able to practice crop diversification where he also discovered air potatoes, a tuber rich in vitamin A.
On his part, M-CLIMES National Project Coordinator, Ted Nyekanyeka said the PICSA approach is proving to be a powerful extension approach empowering farmers to make informed farming decisions in the face of erratic weather and climatic conditions and climate change.
Nyekanyeka said farmers who are participating in PICSA are reporting positive outcomes especially on improved food security and better climate adaptation practices.
“M-CLIMEs will continue to support refresher trainings in all targeted 14 districts where over 500,000 farmers of which 60 percent are women; have been trained on the approach,” he said.
PICSA is led by the University of Reading (UoR) based in the UK, and has been supported by the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and in Malawi; it is being implemented by NASFAM and the Department of Agricultural Extension Services (DAES) in Rumphi, Karonga, Nkhata-Bay, Salima, Ntchisi, Dowa, Lilongwe, Dedza, Ntcheu, Zomba, Chiradzulu, Phalombe, Chikwawa and Mzimba Districts.

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2022-09-27 05:46