Disasters have hit Malawi hard in recent years, leading to the country losing 1.7 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), a report by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security reveals.
Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security Cecilia Chazama has since stressed the need to build resilience in disaster preparedness to reduce the impact of disasters on the economy and people’s lives.
Speaking during the 2018 commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction under the theme Reducing Economic Losses from Disasters Has the Power to Transform Lives, the minister said some of the disasters that Malawi faces are man-made; hence, they are manageable.
“We need to look at issues of afforestation and avoid building houses along rivers,” she said.
Chazama said globally, economic losses due to disasters are increasing and Malawi has not been spared.
A Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) conducted after the 2015 floods estimated damages and losses across different sectors at $335 million (about K246 billion) while the cost of recovery and reconstruction requirements was estimated at $494 million (about K362 billion).
A PDNA of 2016 drought estimated damages and losses at $365.9 million (about K268 billion) while recovery requirements were estimated at $500.2 million (about K366 billion).
The minister said such losses escalate vulnerability, weaken resilience and increase the likelihood of disaster displacements.
On his part, World Food Programme (WFP) country representative Benoit Thiry said natural and man-made disasters are among the main drivers of hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
He said there is need to strengthen policy dialogue and investment in implementing existing policies. n