Mutharika speaks on ‘rain of terror’: Hints at lasting solutions to address effects of natural disasters in Malawi

Malawi Government plans to relocate and resettle all people living in flood-prone areas as a lasting solution to loss of lives and livelihoods due to natural disasters, Malawi leader President Arthur Peter Mutharika has said.

Malawian President Mutharika speaks on effects of natural disasters

Malawian President Mutharika speaks on effects of natural disasters

The President said this in his statement themed “A Nation Resilient to Disasters”which discusses Malawi’s preparedness ahead of an impending warm phase termed as El Nino.

According to the seasonal weather forecast by the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services, the current rainy season is likely to be characterized by a strong El Nino which may cause heavy rains in some parts of the country and may cause drought in other parts of the country, especially in the Shire Valley, particularly towards the end of the rainy season.

“In order to ensure the safety of people who are frequently affected by flood disasters, government will, from next year, start the process of permanently resettling the people in safe areas. In this respect, I urge traditional leaders to support district councils and the central government to identify land for relocation and play a leadership role in the actual process of resettlement,” said Mutharika.

He urges chiefs and traditional leaders to be in the forefront mobilizing their subjects for this necessary intervention.

Mutharika, in his address to the nation broadcast on taxpayer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) television and radio Tuesday evening, also pointed out that other precautionary measures include a procurement of an insurance policy which goes hand in hand with government’s efforts to relocate residents away from prone areas. Government has procured a flood insurance policy from the African Risk Capacity Insurance Company Ltd.

According to the President, his administration also plans to tamper with river beds and banks as a way of mitigating the effects of fast-flowing water.

As part of its long-term Disaster Risk Management and Resilience Programme, government will soon commence work on certain rivers to control them from flooding.

The work will involve excavation of sand from channels of some of the rivers, as a long term measure to control the flow of water from the rivers. The work will also involve construction of flood-mitigating infrastructure such as dikes, gabions, mattresses and sandbags and protecting vetiver banks through afforestation and planting of vetiver and elephant grass.

President Mutharika then urged communities to cooperate in excavating sand and debris from shallow rivers which usually flood during rainy season. He also called them upon to dig canals and clear debris even from drainages and canals

Mutharika also appealed to all Malawians to get involved in reducing risk when it comes to disasters affecting their lives.

“Disaster risk management is not a choice; it is a must. It is an imperative which should be driven by lessons learnt from the country’s tragic experiences of disasters. As we all know, this country is largely exposed to hydro-meteorological hazards especially floods and drought as well as hailstorms, strong winds, landslides and water-related disease outbreaks.

“The intensity and frequency of these disasters has increased in recent decades due to climate change as well as environmental degradation, over-population and urbanization,” he said.

His remarks are mainly based on the disaster that befell Malawi early 2015 when floods affected 1.1 million people in 15 of the country’s 28 districts further killing 106 people with 172 reported missing. 230,000 people were also displaced by the floods. In addition people’s property and public infrastructure valued at US$494 million and 64,000 hectares of crop fields throughout the country were destroyed.

The combined effect of the floods and erratic rains caused the current food shortage which has seriously affected as many as 2.8 million people.

He assured Malawians that government is vigilant to ensure that they are taken care of in case of relocation, food and other important amenities during and after this rainy season.

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13 thoughts on “Mutharika speaks on ‘rain of terror’: Hints at lasting solutions to address effects of natural disasters in Malawi”

  1. Mathanyula says:

    Mathanyula, talk is cheap.

  2. palaziman says:

    All the solution and ideas comes during the rain season only,when the rain has gone no any measure is done to keep away people to such places,it happen during last year rain season,yet from april to november nothing come out to change things or to replace people to other areas,now the rain is here now and some places already having disaster and its when ideas is coming out.

  3. Machecheta says:

    Bravo, your Excellency for the excellent strategic initiative regarding the management of the Shire River Basin. All the rivers in the Shire Valley Basin can be managed. We should all start dreaming about a Shire River that has been completely managed and has been turned into an opportunity for significant food security programs. It is possible. All we needs is a shared common vision and a multi-sectoral approach in flood disaster management.
    The lasting solution that the State President is proposing is a challenge to the Malawian Engineers and private sector Companies and indeed to all of us to start thinking about what contribution we gonna make in the Shire Basin Disaster Management Initiative. It is time our tertiary institutions tailor the curriculum to the challenges of the nation. We need Engineers of our own in the challenges that Malawi faces, including management of floods. Our MDF Engineers must also be involved.
    Relocation of our friends in the Lower Shire Valley is also a great idea. Let the Insurance company that will cover the risks of those who will be relocated also consider introducing another insurance product to cover the farmers’ risk as a result of climate change and climate variability.

  4. Anthu akuda says:

    Anything that doesn’t mention a tough stance in dealing with charcoal burning is just hogwash lip service especially from a leader. Any time we see bags of charcoal along our roads is a constant reminder that we are not serious with conserving our environment. Down stream interventions rarely help. We can build dykes or excavate rivers but if people continue wanton cutting down of trees in the catchment areas we are in for problems. Since our country doesn’t have reliable source of electricity but we seem to have large deposits of coal, we would try to venture into making coal readily available to households to substitute charcoal.

  5. Apoche says:

    I don’t like this president

  6. Nthandalanda says:

    Let’s see if you are going to manage. This is our country and land.

  7. therere says:

    sachokatu amenewa, amafuna relief aid chaka chiri chonse,

  8. Tengupenya says:

    Amakana anthu kusiya malo komwe kuli manda amakolo awo. Mfumu ina ku Chikwawa ndi anthu ena ku Nsanje anawuzapo boma kuti liwapatse ma speed boat as a mitigation measure osati kuwasamutsa. Koma mafumu afunikadi kuchitapo kanthu pa mfundo yosamuka, Manda atha kumadzawayedera pa chaka chokumbukira makolo awo. Atha kumanga mipanda ndikuyika electric fence ndi magetsi a solar kuzungulira mandawo kuti asamalike mogwira mtima. Mizimu ya makolo awo iwuse mumtendere. Titeteze miyoyo yomwe yikadalipoyi poyisamutsira ku mtunda.

  9. Winford Saka says:

    Apm Woyeeeeee

  10. Winford Saka says:

    That’s the Apm I Know dealing with a Problem once and for all

  11. Benjones says:

    Untreatable government. Poor people who were affected last year rains have to date not been assisted my the government. Yet we received lots of donation to help but it is not accounted. People are suffering badly in the remote areas.

  12. Ngosi says:

    This is visionary leadership Mr. President.

  13. Nyapo says:

    That’s my president.

Comments are closed.