The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Wednesday donated 272 housing units for instant use by displaced people.
UNHCR donated the much improved and durable tents to the Ministry of Disaster Management Affairs and Public Events.
Speaking in Lilongwe during the official handover ceremony of the units, UNHCR Country Representative to Malawi Fatima Mahommed-Cole said the donation signifies the cordial relationship that exists between the Malawi Government and the UN refugee agency.
“The donation symbolizes the strong partnership that exists between the Government of Malawi and the UNHCR. We are hopeful that the units will provide protection to the displaced people, who are the intended beneficiaries,” said Mahommed-Cole.
In his remarks, Secretary and Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs Wilson Moleni said the donation has come at the right time.
“Since the onset of the rainy season, over 2500 households have been displaced in Karonga District alone and have sought refuge in churches and primary schools due to heavy flooding. The donation will minimize the tendency of using classroom blocks as shelters during disasters, a situation that puts pressure on education facilities and halts learning processes.
“I, therefore, on behalf of the Malawi Government, commend the UNHCR for the timely donation and I call upon other disaster risk management stakeholders and organisations to emulate this gesture,” said Moleni.
Moleni further said that the UNHCR has been government’s long-time partner in alleviating the suffering of displaced persons, adding that in March last year, the UNHCR donated various shelter materials to people affected by the Cyclone-Idai induced floods that left over 87,000 people displaced.
In June last year, the UNHCR and the Malawi Government jointly provided a return package comprising maize, blankets, kitchen utensils, building materials and buckets; among others, to 7,088 Malawian and 412 Mozambican families who were displaced by the March 2019 Cyclone-Idai induced floods.
During the handover ceremony, the UNHCR also donated 36 housing units to the Ministry of Health. The donated housing units (308 in total) are valued at US$400,400.