Malawi needs to have a legal framework that should guide operations, receipt and distribution of relief materials in times of disaster, a report that Red Cross Society commissioned has revealed.
The report has since recommended that government should speed up the formulation of International Disaster Response Law (IDRL) to ease the process of disaster response in the country.
Principal Secretary in the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) Clement Chinthu-Phiri said IDRL was ideal because it would guide the nation to declare state of disasters.
Said Chinthu-Phiri: “It was even difficult for the State President to declare the state of disaster because there is no specific law that could guide and help timely declaration. The law will, therefore, guide on the kind of relief items so that the country is not taken as a dumping site for undesirable items by some people or agencies who may want to assist.”
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) acting regional representative for the Southern African Region, Michael Charles, said the law is important because it will help to ward off undesirable relief materials while at the same time speed up the process of responding to needs arising from disasters in the country.
“You shouldn’t open your doors to everything because there is a lot of nonsense out there which, in times of disaster, would want to come in. This law will, therefore, provide a guide on how you can go about accepting the right kind of interventions,” said Charles.
Red Cross is also working with Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to find ways of how best to deal with disasters in the region. n