Malawian President Peter Mutharika has admitted that the lack of a National disaster Risk Management Policy is hampering efforts to relocate people living in flood-prone areas to higher ground.
Mutharika made the remarks in his national address,, broadcast from the capital Lilongwe, on the state of national response to the floods which hit 15 districts early this year.
He said works to have the policy started in 1991 but has been facing numerous challenges since then.
“This work was started in 1991 with the enactment of the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act,which provided the legal and institutional framework for disaster management in the country at National, District, Area and Village level,” disclosed President Mutharika.
He said the Act was however, enacted without a policy.
“Because of this anomaly, we are still facing numerous challenges, in adopting a proactive and systematic approach to address disasters risks in the country,” he added.
The President said the policy will guide stakeholders in implementing programmes and activities to effectively address disaster risks and reduce the impact of disasters amongst communities in the country.
He disclosed that at the moment the draft Disaster Policy has not yet been discussed by the full Cabinet.
“For the long term response, the Ministry of Lands, Housing and urban Development is finalising the National Disaster Risk Management Policy. It is expected that the policy will be adopted at the next Cabinet meeting,” assured the president.
According to the Malawi leader, the overall objective of the Policy will be sustainably reduce disaster losses in lives and in the social economic, and environmental assets of individuals, communities and the nation; as well as create an enabling framework for the establishment of a comprehensive disaster risk management system for Malawi.
“It is my sincere hope that this policy will assist us in dealing with some of the current problems which we are facing especially issues of relocation of people,” Mutharika said.
“As you may be aware, some of the problems could be reduced if we removed people from the disaster prone areas to some safer places.”
The Malawi leader also requested the Ministry of Lands and Housing to make wide consultations with the concerned parties, so as to have a common ground for the implementation of the policy, which he said was needed as soon as yesterday.
Latest statistics indicate that around 234 schools were damaged and 181 were being used as relocation sites for displaced people, who have lost their homes in the floods (a total of 415 schools affected).
An estimated 200,000 students are not able to attend school due to their schools being flooded or occupied by those who require temporary shelters.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :