President Peter Mutharika has appealed for international support for rebuilding parts of Malawi that were devastated by floods in January that may cost more than $400 million.
Mutharika, said Malawi — one of the poorest countries in the world — needed “critical thinking and re-direction” in the wake of the deadly floods that killed 176 people
“I would like to appeal for international support in this recovery and reconstruction programme as $494 million is an enormous sum of money,” Mutharika said at Post Disaster Needs Assessment Report.
The short-term reconstruction could be completed within a year but the longer-term efforts could take up to five years, said the report, which was backed by the European Union, World Bank and the United Nations.
“The PDNA Report shows that the floods indeed caused substantial damage and losses in the productive, public infrastructure and social service sectors, including private and community assets,” said Mutharika, adding “Restoring these services and assets will not be easy. I, therefore, call upon all of us to join hands and act with unity of purpose as a nation to restore these services and assets.”
Paul Chinangwa of the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, said the rains cost the agriculture sector $65 million — sweeping away 200,000 livestock, 520,000 houses and 1,000 kilometres of roads.
“The floods hit the poor hard and further pushed them into poverty,” he said.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) administrator Helen Clark said in a speech at the launch of the report: “The floods were an appalling tragedy, and there can be little solace for those who have lost so much. Now, it is important to support the communities to build back better.”
The recovery plan was an opportunity to “increase public understanding of the risk of future flooding”.
It was “unlikely that these will be the last floods or the last natural hazard to hit Malawi,” she said.
“The recovery efforts should address not only the consequences of this year’s floods, but also take into account other hazards – including drought,” Clark said.
Clark also said farmers needed help to feed their families over the next year, calling for the provision of tools, seeds and livestock, and said repairing key roads would restore access to basic services and markets.
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest and most densely populated countries, and about 85 percent of its 17.5 million population are farmers living in rural areas.
Longer-term investment in disaster risk reduction measures, including better early-warning systems and water management systems, could minimise the impact of future flooding and recurrent dry spells, according to the report.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :