The Malawi cabinet has approved the National Disaster Risk Management Policy which will help in creating an enabling framework for the establishment of a comprehensive disaster risk management system for Malawi.
Principal Secretary for Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) Paul Chiunguzeni has confirmed.
The policy, according to the February 4, DoDMA update on the flood situation, would guide stakeholders in implementing programmes and activities to effectively address disaster risks hence reducing the impact of disasters in the country.
Earlier on, when President Peter Mutharika visited flood victims in the Lower Shire Valley, noted that lack of the policy had been hampering governments efforts to permanently deal with flood related disasters.
He had noted that works to have the policy started in 1991 but were facing numerous challenges.
“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. Because of this anomaly, we are still facing numerous challenges, in adopting a proactive and systematic approach to address disasters risks in the country,” said Mutharika.
According to Mutharika, the policy will help to sustainably reduce disaster losses in lives and in the social economic, environmental assets of individuals, communities and the nation.
With the absence of the policy, commentators have argued that government structures have not lived up to their responsibility of monitoring how and where people build their houses, where to farm and taking care of the environment in general the depletion of which has worsened the floods situation.
“As a nation, we should work to mitigate those effects now and also protect human activity upland. The policy will also help cohesion in the way relief efforts will be coordinated in future,” Chiunguzeni said.
Meanwhile, DoDMA has said it will launch and disseminate the policy soon.