By Grace Kapatuka
Salima, September 23, Mana: Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) said it was ready and well equipped to respond to any disaster that may occur in the country.
This follows a successful completion of a week-long training of its National Response Team that took place in Salima aimed at improving preparedness and response to disasters.
Speaking during the closing ceremony of the training on Sunday, where certificates were presented to participants, MRCS Director of Programmes, Prisca Chisala said the training has strengthened the capacity of staff to effectively prepare and respond to disasters when they happen.
“You know that disasters keep occurring in Malawi and most of the times Malawi Red Cross Society is the first responders when disasters have happened,” she said.
Chisala said they would want to make sure that in their public role as a society they build adequate skills and provide the right skills and knowledge to their staff.
She said the idea came in as a result of changes in the society’s staffing, saying they have new members that have just joined.
The Director said with a revision of a curriculum in National Response Plan by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), the society wanted to train the members of staff on the new concept.
Chisala said the training gave the society a platform to analyze its capacity and areas that would need improvement so that they continue serving the vulnerable groups well whenever disasters happen.
“The training incorporated staff members from all departments because we want to make sure that our response interventions are inclusive enough and not only looking at one sector but integrating all the needs on the ground,’ she said.
Chief Relief and Rehabilitation Officer in the Department of Disaster Management Affairs Fyawupi Mwafongo commended the MRCS for training its National Response Team.
He said the training was very crucial to the Department as the society complements government’s efforts in dealing with issues of disaster risk management.
“We know that most of the topics covered will improve the capacity and knowledge of the staff that normally work hand in hand with officers from various government offices in responding to disasters,” Mwafongo said.
He described the training as timely saying the country will shortly be getting into rainy season where disasters may occur and would need a pool of well-trained officers to respond to such issues.
The Officer said the department on its own prepared to respond to disasters but would need support from partners like the MRCS in the response.
The 30 participants to the training comprised of staff from health and social department, logistics, water and sanitation, finance and administration.