The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) has pledged support to Malawi and other countries that experience devastation due to disasters.
Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Mami Mizutori, said this on Wednesday at the opening the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in Geneva, Switzerland.
She said the aftermath of cyclone Idai presents a case of serious challenges African countries still experience to reduce the impact of disasters, hence, the need to double the efforts.
“We remain deeply concerned with events that happened in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe and we fully commit to continue working with the governments of these countries on future interventions,” she said.
While making it clear that UNDRR will work with Malawi and other countries in rebuilding, Mizutori also spoke on the need to ensure that gains that were made are restored and prevent further damage in future.
“Now you have to look into the reconstruction and it’s not just reconstruction of the infrastructure but the reconstruction of the society because people have lost everything; children have lost the opportunity for education, healthcare and there are challenges we face in all this,” she emphasised.
Mizutori, therefore, asked governments to consider prioritising risk reduction investments through adequate financing using domestic resources.
“We will work with you and again building back better as much as we can together, but I do feel that probably there are also lessons we can learn from there, lessons that nobody could have foreseen because from what I understand the communication methods were cut off quickly in Mozambique making it difficult for rescue teams to reach affected areas easily,” said Mizutori.
Her remarks connected well with Malawi’s statement delivered at the meeting by the director of Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) James Chiusiwa.
“Unfortunately, the floods have eroded some of the gains that we have made in disaster risk reduction, while also teaching us a number of important lessons,” he said.
In March this year, flood disasters killed 60 and displaced 868 900 people.
However, Chiusiwa assured the international community that Malawi remains committed to the domestication of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR), a global blueprint for reducing disaster risk reduction agreed to in 2015.