Government has earmarked $80 million (about K57.6 billion) for the restoration of livelihoods and critical public infrastructure which were affected by heavy flooding in the country’s 15 districts in a project funded by the World Bank.
Malawi Floods Emergency Recovery Project (Mferp) project coordinator Dixie Kampani said in an interview yesterday that the three-year project targets 45 303 beneficiaries.
He said apart from putting back damaged infrastructure such as roads, bridges, schools and health facilities, the project also seeks to build flood resilience among the communities involved.
Kampani said Mferp has since launched a sub-component of the project where $14 million has been channeled towards a public works programme.
He said: “We have rolled out the public works programme which has been categorised into two parts. The first group of people [about 13 000], were identified as having access to irrigation water. Hence, beneficiaries from this group will be given farm inputs so as to help them sustain their livelihoods through winter cropping.
“The remainder of the beneficiaries will be given cash after taking part in the public works. We believe this will give them a push to be able to take care of their lives after facing a disaster.”
A statement from Mferp said the 2016 Irrigated Public Works Programme (IPWP) is scheduled to be implemented from August to November 2016 in all the 15 districts that were affected by floods last year including Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Karonga, Machinga, Mangochi, Mulanje, Nsanje, Ntcheu, Phalombe, Rumphi, Salima, Thyolo and Zomba.
It further said the major purpose of the project was to ensure that affected communities build resilience against floods by taking part in projects identified by local district councils.
In January 2015, Malawi experienced severe floods that destroyed lives and property, prompting President Peter Mutharika to declare a State of national disaster. He called for support from both local and international donors and well-wishers to help reduce the impact of floods in the country.
The floods significantly reduced the annual crop production for the 2014/15 growing season, leaving about 8.5 million of the country’s estimated 16 million population facing hunger this year. n