The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) has called for a paradigm shift in disaster management from a reactive approach to being proactive to reduce costs disasters cause.
Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a two-day media orientation workshop on Disaster Risk Management in Salima on Friday, Commissioner for Disaster Management Wilson Moleni, who is also Principal Secretary in the Office of the Vice-President, said disasters are increasingly affecting people.
He observed that for a long time government was reactive, a development which has left a huge need for recovery funds.
Said Moleni: “There is need to change our approach. We hope to achieve a paradigm shift from a reactive approach to a proactive approach by ensuring that disaster risks are timely addressed.
“However, achieving this requires concerted effort. We believe that a multi-sector and multi-agency approach, where the media and communities at risk fully participate in decisions on issues affecting them is the best way we can improve our resilience and response to disasters.”
In March this year, Malawi experienced one of the worst tropical cyclones, Idai, that formed in the Mozambican Channel and brought heavy rains and strong winds.
In the aftermath of the cyclone, severe flooding negatively affected people’s lives, livelihoods and socio-economic infrastructure, pushing more people into poverty.
In total, an estimated 975 000 people were affected with 86 976 displaced, 60 killed and 672 injured.
According to the Malawi 2019 Floods Post Disaster Needs Assessment report, the value of effects of the disaster is pegged at $ 220.2 million while the needs for recovery and reconstruction stand at $ 370.5 million.
However, when Cyclone Idai hit the country, $650 million (K487.5 billion) is required for the recovery which government is still mobilising. The World Bank has committed $120 million and the African Development Bank has pledged $20 million.
According to the report, the devastating heavy rains and floods caused substantive damage and loss across the social, productive and infrastructure sectors, with the social sector experiencing most of these effects.
In 2015, Malawi experienced the worst floods which affected 1.1 million people, displaced 374 000 and killed 106.