World Food Programme (WFP) country representative Benoit Thiry has advised Malawi Government and stakeholders to take collective action in encouraging people to construct strong structures to mitigate the impact of natural disasters.
He said this on Sunday at Ntangaye Primary School Ground in Traditional Authority (T/A) Liwonde in Machinga District during the commemoration of this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR).
The event also followed the official launch of National Disaster Recovery Framework and the 2019/20 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Plan.
Speaking in an interview, Thiry, who spoke on behalf United Nations Resident Coordinator Maria Jose Torres, said Malawi cannot afford to be taking care of disasters victims every year; hence, the need to focus on buildings that reduce people’s exposure to disaster risk.
He said: “I am extremely happy because this year’s theme for Malawi is Building for Sustainability, with a focus on integrating multi-dimensional risk into development planning, public and private construction and maintenance of critical
Thiry said the theme underscores the critical importance of climate-resilient infrastructure that calls government and stakeholders to ensure that they holistically enhance efforts in helping communities see the merits of
constructing structures that withstand extreme weather events.
“Climate resilient infrastructure can foster sustainability in Malawi. In fact, the money Malawi channels towards disaster victims can be channelled to other pressing needs such as education, health and agriculture, among others,” he observed.
He further reiterated the UN support towards building resilient communities, saying they want to help more Malawians have resilient infrastructures.
On his part, Vice- President Everton Chimulirenji, who presided over the launch of the two documents, said he is happy that
Malawi is making strides in initiatives that convince people to take precautionary measures during disasters.
“It is encouraging because people now realise the importance of constructing resilient structures, including taking heed of our pleas to move to upland from lowland,” he said.
On the two
documents, Chimulirenji said they will provide guidance on what steps to take to avoid recurrence of past mistakes and also how to respond to those who were affected by the disasters.
He called on development partners to help support government in building resilient nation.