Social commentator Michael Usi has called for a revolution in the way Malawians, including government, respond to disasters—saying relief items sometimes scratch displaced Malawians where it does not really itch.
The deputy country director of Adventist Development and Relief Agency (Adra) called for a mind-set change when the organisation donated cash amounting to K1 million to 200 survivors of torrential rains that killed six people and displaced about 2 000 households in Mzuzu on Tuesday.
Asked why Adra had opted for cash hand-outs, Usi said: “I thank government for the timely response when disaster struck the northern part of the country. A lot of people have come in to donate foodstuffs, blankets, clothes and other relief items, but are these goods really addressing the needs of those affected?
“I want to request the well-wishers to consider making part of the donations because it will enable the suffering Malawians to meet some of their neglected needs that no-one can see in the absence of a thorough needs assessment.”
Adra has urged Mzuzu City council to quickly assess the needs of the survivors affected by the floods and landslides caused by the rains, which battered the city for almost three weeks, for the national and private response to address the real needs of the displaced community.
About 500 people are still scattered in camps that emerged across the city when the rains wreaked havoc.
Deputy Mayor Frazer Chunga thanked Adra for spearheading “the revolution”, saying the cash envelops will help the worst hit to buy silent needs that have not been forthcoming as donations trickle in from both the public and private sectors.
“We thank all Malawians of goodwill for coming to the rescue of the affected population when the disasters befell us. However, I would like to request them to consider emulating Adra’s example because giving them cash will help households prioritise their need and buy the basics they really lack,” said Chunga in an interview at Mzuzu Stadium.
The sports arena was inundated by desperate Malawians grappling with a sense of loss as they rise from one of the worst tragedies since Mzuzu was declared a city almost 20 years ago.
About 60 people were chucked off the queue for gate-crashing into the stadium, but they were served last.
The beneficiaries largely comprised widows, the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups.
Before making the donation, Adra donated K1 million to the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, marking the start of a partnership to ensure orphans, widows and people living with HIV have access to antiretroviral drugs, education materials, nutritious food and other necessities.
Speaking when she presented the cheque, Adra district manager Susan Chitaya said: “We have confidence in the good job the synod is doing to change lives of Malawians. We often meet during meetings and in civil society networks. We decided to enter into this partnership to strengthen our ties as we strive to uplift people affected by the pandemic.”
Synod treasurer Gerald Kamanga, who received the cheque in the presence of Church and Society executive director Moses Mkandawire thanked Adra for the funding.
Kamanga received the cheque on behalf of the Reverend Levi Nyondo who was in South Africa to strengthen an emerging in the ‘Rainbow Nation’.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :