21 April 2019
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Monday, 11 February 2019 11:53

Resistance causing unnecessary loss of property, lives – Madula

Written by  Kondwani Magombo

Mangochi, February 11, 2019: Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Homeland Security, Sam Madula has faulted Malawians building in disaster-prone areas, saying their resistance to move to safer grounds costs the country unnecessary loss of lives and property.

Madula made the assertion recently in Mangochi at the opening of a five – day disaster resilience leadership training for directors and senior officers from various government ministries, departments and agencies.

He said one of the reasons the country continues to register disasters caused by floods and other adverse weather conditions is because some people in the country were adamant and do not heed caution.

“The culture of resistance is becoming a big challenge that is costing government a lot of money as people do not heed advice; why should we have floods damaging houses and people’s property in the same places every year?” wondered Madula.

“We have people building houses on top of Soche Hill in Blantyre; we have people building right in the river course in Mtandire, Lilongwe and some who refuse to move to upland down in Lower Shire - yet, when disaster strikes it is government that bears the brunt of ensuring that the affected people are assisted,” said Madula.

Madula, therefore, called upon traditional and religious leaders and non – governmental organizations to join government’s efforts in sensitizing people to avoid settling in disaster-prone areas.

He also urged the media fraternity to sensitize the public through both electronic and print to keep people away from avoidable disaster that may cost lives and property.

The five-day training is being facilitated by experts from Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC), a regional non-profit making foundation based in Bangkok, Thailand and deals with building resilience of people and institutions affected by disasters.

ADPC Deputy Executive Director, Aslam Perwais said in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) that his team was ready to equip government senior officers with the technical know-how on disaster preparedness.

“In Malawi you have a vibrant human resource base and what’s required is to build its capacity and activate it for action,” said Perwais, adding that the training would also help government report well on disaster issues.

The training follows the post-disaster assessment that the World Bank conducted following the 2015 floods which displaced over 230,000 people and left at least 175 people dead.

The assessment identified gaps, which according to the World Bank’s Senior Disaster Risk Management Specialist, Francis Mkoka, include need for training of all structures that deal with disasters from the top to the ground.

“These trainings will continue. Some will even be longer and we want the knowledge to cascade down to the civil protection committees dealing with disasters at community level,” Mkoka said.

Mkoka added that after training senior government officers, the ADPC experts would also train technicians from all government ministries, departments and agencies before taking the training to the academia where short courses on the subject matter will be introduced.

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