Authorities in disaster management in Nsanje say it is costly to bring helicopters to the district for demonstrations on rescue operations to prepare people in disaster prone areas.
Nsanje disaster management officer Humphrey Magalasi said this in response to a request by Makhanga community in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mlolo to orient them on helicopter operations.
People made the request through Development Broadcasting Unit (DBU) of the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) that conducted an appreciative inquiry in eight disaster prone T/As in the district to identify channels they use to facilitate development.
However, Magalasi said: “It is a big cost [in terms of fuel] to bring a helicopter and conduct simulation or mock exercises in disaster prone areas. All we do is to discourage people from living in disaster prone areas.”
Previously, he said: “People’s adoption rate of messages was very low, they did not relocate to uplands even in the face of Meteorological Department forecasts that there will be heavy rains. But because of the bad experience in the 2015 floods where 73 000 people plus were affected, this time we expect adoption to be very high.”
The disaster management officer said most people have learnt from loss of lives, crops, livestock, buildings and other properties to floods and moved uplands as rains began.
Magalasi said between December 17 and18, the Disaster Civil Protection (DCP) committee developed a disaster contingency plan for Nsanje District.
Nsanje was among the 15 districts in the country that were badly hit by 2015 floods. The other districts were Chikwawa, Phalombe, Zomba, Blantyre, Chiradzulu, Thyolo, Mulanje, Balaka, Machinga, Mangochi, Ntcheu, Salima, Rumphi and Karonga. n