In a bid to promote structural standards that would reduce vulnerability to disasters, Malawi Red cross has asked communities in disaster prone areas to follow proper steps in the process of building their houses.
The organization started building some houses in the districts where they were affected by the January devastating floods a first project of its kind after the January devastating floods.
In an interview on Sunday during the commemoration of the 2015 International Day for Disaster Reduction, Roster Kufandiko, Malawi Red cross Assistant Disaster Management Manager who is also responsible for shelter said Chikwawa district was one of the districts that was heavily affected by floods and Red Cross came in and assisted some households.
“We started with the response phase where we provided tents then we provided small shelters that individual households were isolated to live in a comfortable house despite of being displaced.
And in the process we discovered that the way people construct houses put them to be prone to disasters. We therefore, worked hand in hand with the Ministry of Housing to build disaster resilient houses and thus what we are providing to Chikwawa communities,” said Kufandiko
He further stated that apart from Chikwawa other districts which his organization identified to build houses were Phalombe where 70 such houses were expected to be build, Blantyre 30, Nsanje 70 while Chikwawa will have 50 houses of that kind and they will be spread amongst Bodza, Savala and Livunzu communities.
“The houses we are constructing should be treated as role model houses so that the communities around here can adopt this kind of approach because they will reduce their vulnerability to disasters such as floods.
In fact the most important thing is not the type or size of the house but rather steps that are followed to build the houses of that type. You know there are steps that are followed in building a structure so that it resists from strong winds or other forms of disasters,” added Kufandiko
He said in construction of houses there was a need to consider things like footing, ring-beam as those were factors that enforce the strength of the structure.
Kufandiko said that before actual construction they conduct awareness which they call Participatory Approach Shelter Awareness (PASA) which he said that the awareness helps communities to select the good place for construction of their houses among other procedures.
He said that since resources were becoming so limited and scarce his organization could not provide such houses to everybody adding if there might be chances on the part of donors, they may increase the number of houses being constructed.
“We are pleased with the people of Zing’ando here at Bodza who managed to relocate as you know some people still cling to the disaster prone areas. As you know the rainy season is approaching, there are some people who fail to relocate who also might face the challenges we went through this year.
“We are just looking forward so that local leaders will be in forefront encouraging their subordinates to relocate and desist from living in flood prone areas,” he said.
He extended his gratitude to the Malawi government through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs for providing space where coordination issues were discussed.
“Our appreciation should also go to the Ministry of Housing for technical guidance in the design and construction of the houses and most importantly the coordination and support we got from Chikwawa district council.
Without their support the process could not be complete, that also in tells us sustainability because as the district council is there, we are assured of sustainable in issues of information dissemination and replication of the houses,” concluded Kufandiko.
The construction of the houses by Malawi Red Cross is expected to end by December this year and is done with support from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
This year’s commemoration of the International Day for Disaster Reduction was done under the theme “Knowledge for life: Indigenous knowledge for disaster risk management.”
The event which saw the launching of the “National Disaster Recovery Framework” took place at Bodza Primary School Ground under Traditional Authority Makhwira in Chikwawa district.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :