Nsanje — Malawi Red Cross Society has installed river gauges worthy K7 million along Nyachilenda river in the area of Chief Ndamela in Nsanje district to prevent loss of lives due to river flooding.
Nyachilenda River is one of the rivers in Nsanje that has been prone to flooding because its banks were weakened by removal of grass and tree around it by communities living along it.
The activity is part of disaster preparedness under Early Warning Systems which MRC is implementing in the district to help communities act quickly to disasters.
MRC District Coordinator for Nsanje, Patricia Gadi said her Organization thought of installing the river gauges and train Early Warning System committees to get right information when the river is about to flood so that people should move uplands.
"The river gauges give communities right and timely information on whether the water levels in the river have reached a point of breaking its banks or not so that precaution measures should be taken swiftly," the Coordinator pointed out.
She said that, "This is why we have trained the communities through Early Warning System committees to have the capacity of detecting that for early action."
Gadi added that communities have been affected by river flooding during the rainy season due to lack of capacities and timely information to enable them make decisions to move to safer places or be evacuated.
Early warning systems project is aimed at providing lead time, public awareness, education and preparedness to allow communities in disaster prone areas act quickly.
Group Village Head Ndamela applauded MRC for the initiative saying it will help in reducing loss of lives and economic resources due to flooding of the river.
He revealed that recently about seven people lost their lives after being washed away by the flooding water from the river due to lack of information.
"The river gauges which have been installed and the community trainings will go a long way in avoiding loss of lives due to flooding of this river. They will indeed help us with information to respond swiftly," the Traditional Leader admitted.
MRC installed the life-saving equipment with financial assistance from Humanitarian Aid (European Commission) and Technical Assistance from Belgium Red Cross, Netherlands Red Cross and Danish Red Cross.