The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) will from next month start shutting down camps for internally displaced people (IDP) affected by the March floods.
In a report issued on April 7, Dodma states that 86 976 IDP are sheltered in camps in the 15 districts and two cities that were affected by the floods.
President Peter Mutharika declared a State of National Disaster on March 8 following incessant rains that affected about 90 000 households.
Speaking on Monday when he presided over a donation of clothes by Development Aid from People to People (Dapp) at Chikuse Camp in Chikwawa, Dodma director of relief and recovery Harris Kachale said as per the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act, displaced people are not supposed to live in camps for over three months.
Dodma is, therefore, working with district commissioners in line with the Ministry of Lands and Housing to identify land to distribute to the affected people from low lying areas as a long-term solution to mitigating the effects of natural disasters.
He has since urged all partners distributing relief items to IDP to provide long-term responses and recovery interventions.
According to Kachale, government will continue assisting survivors until they are fully recovered.
He said: “We are encouraging the people to unite with their families. From there, they will be assisted as a family, according to their needs. My appeal is that our partners continue to assist us to enable them to pick up the pieces and establish own permanent settlements.”
Among other requirements, the displaced people need building materials, food, clothes, beddings, farm inputs for replanting and farming equipment.
Dodma has recorded mobilising close to $19.6 million (about K14.4 billion) for the flood response and that it has a deficit of $25.6 million (about K18.8 billion).
On his part, Chikwawa district director of planning and development Douglas Moffat said they will only find dwelling places for the IDP and encourage them to continue with farming activities on their previous land.
About 68 000 people were affected by the floods in Chikwawa, one of the hardest hit districts.
Group village head Chikuse, who is at the camp together with over 1 700 of his subjects, was cynical about returning to his village.
He said: “These floods have been harsh on us and we do not want to go back there. We lost so much which we worked so hard to accumulate, we cannot continue suffering like this. We just need proper land where we will feel safe all year round.”