In a bid to surmount delays in providing humanitarian assistance, the Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) on Tuesday launched the International Disaster Response Law (IDRL) report in Malawi.
The IDRL report seeks to reduce human vulnerability by promoting legal preparedness for disasters; it also provides an assessment of strengths and gaps in disaster response in Malawi.
Among others the IDRL report seeks to address issues of clearance of relief goods and equipment, navigation and parking fees for aircraft carrying relief items and registration of foreign actors through temporary certificate valid during the disaster period.
Speaking when he launched the proposed Bill, Acting Regional Director for International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, Dr. Michael Charles, commended Malawi for taking a bold step in launching the IDRL report.
“This year in January during the floods, we got re-way, from government in terms of getting humanitarian assistance in; from our perspective the Malawi government is doing a lot in terms of making their laws flexible, and it is clear that humanitarian response is a key to government as shown by their actions,” he said
Charles continued to say that there had been delays when it comes to providing humanitarian assistance not only in Malawi but in so many countries, with the proposed bill Malawi will have a good disaster response.
However he said “the law is there to guide but we still need human being to control and implement those laws, we still need knowledgeable people to ensure that we still keep the border safe so that Malawi is not exposed to unwanted items.”
Principal Secretary for Administration in the Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) Chinthu Phiri, concurred with Charles saying proposition to have the IDRL is important to Malawi because it will put in place guidelines and mechanics regarding how disasters are going to be timely declared it will provide automatic declaration of disasters when they occur.
“There are lots of procedures for allowing international transport including special aircrafts bringing in relief items, for instances aircrafts have to be cleared by government, and when they land the longer they stay on the ground they have to pay, the proposed Bill seeks to provide mechanisms on how to facilitate such issues.” said Phiri.
The IDRL report comes after the MRCS in conjunction with IFRC organized a workshop in 2013 on disaster law in Malawi, where a plan of action was drawn which among others recommended the review of the current laws on disaster risk management.