Weather-related disasters claim 39 lives from July 2021 to January 2022

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA) has disclosed that it recorded 39 deaths due to weather-related disasters from July 2021 to January 2022.

The Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Dr. Charles Kalemba, made the revelation in Lilongwe on Monday during the department’s update on the status of disaster preparedness, emergency response operations, risk reduction interventions and the implementation of the 2021/22 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Program (LS-FIRP).

Kalemba (left) addressing journalists in Lilongwe on Monday

Kalemba said 26 deaths were due to lightning strikes while 13 were due to collapsed walls because of strong winds and stormy rains.

The department registered 245 injuries, he said.

“The country has been experiencing weather related disasters mainly strong, flash floods, lightening and stormy rains,”  he said.

Kalemba said the impact of disasters included loss of lives, injuries, damage to the houses and property as well as destruction of crop fields and infrastructure.

According to him, since July 2021 to January 24, 2022, a total of 24, 756 households have been affected by weather related disasters.

He said the department has so far reached out to 19,539 households with relief assistance.

The assistance is a package that includes food and non-food items like maize, rice, plastic fir temporary roofing, kitchen utensils, tents and money.

Kalemba added that the relief assistance has also been extended to 1.7million people who will be food insecure during the 2021/22 lean season.

Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) projected in its two assessments that 1.7million people will be food insecure during the lean season.

As part of the response, he said, government has allocated 29,168 metric tonnes of maize valued at K6.56 billion from its strategic reserves.

A total of K16.09 billion worth of financial and in kind resources has been mobilized from development partners, he said.

Kalemba however said the provision of relief items to the affected household is ongoing as the department is currently engaging the Ministry of Agriculture as well as MVAC on the prospects of the food situation in view of the late onset of rains and reports of dry spell in some parts of the country.

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