As flood-affected communities rebuild, Mueller urges for sustained action to address underlying causes of vulnerability
The United Nations (UN) Assistant Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs and deputy emergency relief coordinator Ursula Mueller yesterday completed her three-day visit to Malawi, during which she met senior government officials, humanitarian and development partners and visited some Cyclone Idai survivors.
A statement issued by the UN in Malawi yesterday indicates that Mueller undertook a joint visit to Malawi with Omar Rabi, Morocco’s minister plenipotentiary and political coordinator who represented the UN Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc), to appreciate how UN and partners’ assistance to Malawi Government flood response has helped save lives and put the affected populations on a recovery path.
She was joined by the Secretary and Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) Wilson Moleni, UN resident coordinator Maria Jose Torres and the UN team during the mission.
In her remarks, Mueller called for investment in resilience, both of the communities and national systems.
She said: “With the response transitioning from relief to recovery, and a good harvest expected, it is critical that the government and development partners take this opportunity to tackle the longer-term challenges which cause recurrent humanitarian crises in Malawi.”
On Tuesday, Mueller visited some villages in Chikwawa District where she interacted with some of the flood survivors.
While in Chikwawa, Torres said she was delighted that some of the flood survivors have already relocated from flood-prone areas to higher grounds while others are growing drought resistant crops in areas with moisture.
“Communities that were affected by floods this year need to build back better so that they have houses and livelihoods that cannot collapse should climate change impact hit them again in future,” she said.
On his part, Moleni commended the UN and partners for supporting the flood response, saying government now needs adequate resources to meet recovery needs of the flood-affected populations.
In early March, heavy rains and flooding linked to Cyclone Idai killed 60 people, displaced nearly 87 000 people and affected around 870 000 people in the country’s 15 districts.
During the response, UN agencies, in collaboration with the Malawi Government, national and international agencies have provided immediate life-saving relief support including food, medicine, shelter, protection services and other non-food-items such as water, sanitation and hygiene supplies.
In the flood response, UN agencies are working under a coordinated approach as part of the UN reform, supporting the response in various ways that reflect their respective mandates and specialised expertise.