By Memory Kutengule
Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has challenged officials from various district councils in the country to devise alternatives to break the cycle of disasters in the country.
Director for Risk Reduction Management in the department, James Chiusiwa made the call on Monday in Blantyre during the official opening of a two-week training workshop for district civil protection committees from various local councils.
The training is aimed at imparting technical skills and knowledge on Disaster Risk Management (DRM).
Chiusiwa said it is sad for Malawi to continue experiencing devastating flood disasters that destroy lives and damage private as well public infrastructure including houses, household property, roads and bridges.
“Deaths due to disasters from weather and climate-related events account for the majority of disaster-related deaths and there has been a rise over the years,” said Chiusiwa.
Chiusiwa then said time had come for Malawi to find ways of breaking the cycle of disasters to reduce the number of affected people as well as impact on property.
“In view of this, we thought it is wise to enhance knowledge and skills of officials from various district councils on how they can implement disaster risk management initiatives in their respective places.
“This will therefore help to effectively coordinate disaster risk management interventions using policies, district development plans as well as programs in order to build resilience of communities and the nation at large to disasters,” he said.
In her part, Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) Acting Head of Water Resources Department, Thokozani Mtewa said disaster risk officers have a challenge in providing solutions to the disasters that Malawi face due to inadequate resources and information, hence the need for training.
“This training is not mostly about changing the way things are being done but to show and discuss alternative ways of doing things in disaster risk management in Malawi,” she said.
One of the participants at the training, James Chikoya who is District Agriculture Development Officer for Chikwawa, described the training as timely and relevant in building capacity of the participants on disaster risk management issues.
DoDMA has partnered with MUST to provide disaster risk management training to members of civil protection committees from various district councils.
Among key topics on disaster risk management include early warning systems, participatory vulnerability assessment in cluster systems and post disaster assessment needs.
The two-week training is being held within the framework of Malawi Floods Emergency Recovery Project and is being implemented by various government institutions with support from World Bank.-MANA