Malawi: Local Communities Need Coping Mechanisms-Red Cross

Phalombe — Malawi Red Cross Society has emphasized on the need for the country to invest more in building the capacity of local communities to be able to stand against effects of disasters when they occur.

District Coordinator for Red Cross in Phalombe, Francis Liyati made the remarks on Monday when they distributed relief items to flood victims camping at Matawa Primary School in the district.

Red Cross was the first partner to respond to calls for assistance to flood victims in Phalombe after the district was hit by floods.

Addressing the affected communities, Liyati encouraged them to start planning on resettling in their communities since rains have stopped.

"We as government's partners in development are not happy to see you in this situation, and we would like you to go back to your lives as soon as possible. Much as we understand that you have lost all you had but with the little assistance that you are getting you should start planning of going back and resettling," the District Coordinator said.

He added that with the changes in climate it is expected that disaster may be here to stay as such that government and its partners should put efforts on building the capacity of citizens both economically and in knowledge so that they could be able to bounce back after disasters.

Malawi News Agency learnt that out of the 159 households that were camping at Matawa, approximately 50 had started reconstructing grass houses for them to move back to their villages.

In an interview, one of the inhabitants of Matawa Camp, Lucy Nkhata 68, of Kalinde Village concurred with Liyati saying some of the houses that fell due to heavy rains in her village were too weak to withstand the rains.

"I want to try and find enough resources so that I can build a house that can still stand even after getting soaked by rains for a long time," she said.

A report by Phalombe District Council on the outcomes of the disaster indicated that a good population of houses fell down due to soaking alongside being washed away.

Meanwhile the Red Cross Malawi Society has assisted approximately 1,500 households in the areas of Traditional Authority (TA) Jenala and Kaduya where many people have been affected by the floods.

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