CISONECC organises first African regional symposium on climate Loss and Damage 

Over two weeks after the passage of Cyclone Freddy, whose effects devastated Malawi that claimed 511 lives; with at least 533 still missing; 1,724 injured and 564,239 people displace and living in 577 camps, Malawi’s Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC) will host the first African regional symposium on loss and damage from April 3-5.

In collaboration with the Trocaire Malawi, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), Christian Aid and the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA), the symposium will provide a platform for African stakeholders and other global citizens to dialogue on and express their analysis on how to move Loss and Damage forward in the sphere of international solidarity.

A statement from CISONECC says the symposium is being organized to achieve the following objectives:

* Take stock of research done and recommendations made on Loss and Damage;

* Develop a common understanding on the extent of, and on appropriate methods for quantitatively and non-quantitatively assessing Loss and Damage; and

* Generate key recommendations for setting up and operationalizing the Loss and Damage Fund and the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage.

To be held at Bingu International Convention Centre — with keynote speaker as Minister of Natural Resources & Climate Change, Michael Usi — its themes are: ‘Loss and Damage Financing’; ‘Local and global mechanisms for addressing loss and damage’ and ‘Documentation and methodologies for capturing Loss and Damage’.

CISONECC is made up of diverse range of local and international non-governmental organizations and faith-based organisations, as well as networks and associations working in climate change and disaster risk management in Malawi.

These are autonomous organisations with aspirations related to climate change and DRM and have unified responsibility to contribute to the network’s objectives through collaborative efforts.

The role and activities of the civil society on climate change include advocacy, public awareness campaigns on impacts and effects of climate change, the impact of environmental degradation on global warming and subsequently climate change.

The government, the civil society and all stakeholders keep reiterating the public that the tropical storms, which keep hitting Malawi in recent times, is due to climate change exacerbated by the degradation of the environment through wanton cutting down of trees.

The symposium will certainly take stock of the effects that Cyclone Freddy has caused as two weeks after its passage, prices of maize have increased in multiple areas and many people do not have access to food due to damaged roads which have hampered supply.

A report by indicates that protection risks and poor water, sanitation and hygiene remain a serious concern in all the displacement sites and that relocation of people from schools to displacement camps has started taking place in Blantyre, ahead of the reopening of schools. says two weeks after the passage of the Tropical Cyclone Freddy weather system, satellite imagery and aerial views from drones show that water levels have not yet fully subsided in Nsanje and Chikwawa districts.

It quotes DoDMA that in Blantyre, Chikwawa and Nsanje districts, 53% of the sites hosting displaced people are schools, 8% are churches, and the remainder are other spaces, like community halls and open land.

Markets have been severely impacted, hampering people’s access to food and in Chikwawa District, the price of grain has skyrocketed in most council markets, with the current average price of maize per kilogramme ranging from K1,000 to K1,200 — which is unaffordable to the average farmer, according to preliminary needs assessment findings.

In both Mulanje and Phalombe districts, most households had their food stocks and crops washed away or submerged by flood water coupled with low food supplies in most local markets — and in some cases, completely unavailable.

Access to main markets is also still limited as most roads were damaged and due to lack of power, people are failing to mill the little maize they have into flour.

As a result, communities are having to walk long distances to diesel-powered mills which do not have the capacity to handle the large number of customers, leading to frequent breakdowns and long queues to the extent that people sometimes sleep there.

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