Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) says it will this year carry out a national risk assessment for improved disaster management.
Dodma chief mitigation officer Stern Kita said when disasters occur, it becomes difficult for the department to know the extent of the damage due to lack of a national disaster risk map.
He said the risk assessment would help communities benefit from any comprehensive risk management programme that may be developed from the process.
Said Kita: “Life, property and livelihoods will be saved from any resultant disasters from the identified risks. The country and communities will also be in a position to have effective disaster preparedness programmes.”
He said the assessment would further help in programme designing of any development that government wants to undertake.
“For example, when government wants to construct a road, they will need handy information on which areas are safe based on proper risk assessment so that we don’t build something and then tomorrow it gets affected by a disaster. This will contribute to development projects that are sustainable and effective,” Kita said.
Lilongwe district commissioner Lawford Palani said Lilongwe is one of the districts that stand to benefit from the assessment as it is prone to disasters.
Meanwhile, Civil Society Network executive director Julius Ng’oma has welcomed the development, saying the comprehensive risk assessment would consider risks in various sectors and geographical areas including towns and cities.
He said: “There is need for government to involve relevant stakeholders in the exercise because their skills and knowledge on various approaches will be useful.” Malawi was among other African countries that convened in Kenya on the disaster risk assessment and validation of roadmaps on improving the availability, access and use of disaster risk information for early warning and action.