Bureaucracy is said to be undermining in Malawi’s early response to disasters despite the country having a capable Early Warning System (EWS).
Speaking on the sidelines of a tour of the country’s Department of Climate Change and Metrological Services in Blantyre on Tuesday, Malawi’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Management, Jennifer Chilunga said the country has lost people to disasters such as floods due to long procedures in relaying EWS messages to affected areas.
“It takes time for EWS messages to be communicated to the affected people or areas after the Department of Climate Change and Metrological Services has detected a danger in a particular area,” she said.
Chilunga said EWS massages are detected by the Department of Climate Change and Metrological Services and are passed on to counterparts in the Ministry of Water Development and Irrigation who have mandate to inform people.
She said her ministry would reduce the time taken to relay the message by half if given the mandate.
Chilunga said the Department of Climate Change and Metrological Services plays a significant role to the country’s economy whose backbone is agriculture hence the need to invest in the sector.
Said Chilunga: “Investing in metrological services can boost our economy since it is directly linked to the agriculture system. In other words, it can also be treated as an agriculture driver.”
Chilunga asked the department to explore possibilities of investing in automatic weather stations which are a requirement for insurance companies to insure crops or crop produce.