Malawi: Devolution of Disaster Management Activities to Enhance Quick Response

Blantyre — Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) says the devolution of disaster management activities will enhance quick responses by government and its stakeholders to disasters as they occur.

Secretary to the Vice President and Commissioner for DoDMA, Wilson Moleni said on Friday in Blantyre that the department had challenges in providing quick responses due to long distances to disaster areas.

He said DoDMA officials were required to travel all the way from the headquarters in Lilongwe to reach out to the affected districts.

"Today, we have presented devolved functions and provided guidance on financial and resource management. We have also guided them in budget ceilings that have been allocated to their districts.

"We have given the councils access to resources which will help them provide immediate responses during disasters at council level," said Moleni.

He was speaking at a consultation meeting with district commissioners in Southern Region on the devolution of disaster management activities to enhance quick response by government.

The DoDMA Commissioner said the meeting would ensure that devolved resources are planned in accordance with the mandate, vision and mission of the department.

Moleni further urged district commissioners to strictly use the resources provided to support Disaster Risk Management (DRM) functions in the councils.

For the plan of devolving DRM functions to turn into action, Moleni commended efforts of ministries of Finance, Economic Planning and Development; Local Government and Rural Development and National Local Government Finance Committee.

"Treasury has allocated K1 billion to the department (DoDMA) in the 2019/2010 financial year of which K330 million has already been provided in the provisional budget for 15 local councils which have been prioritised," said Moleni.

Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Chiradzulu District Commissioner, Reinghard Kaweta Chavula commended DoDMA for giving the councils some of its powers.

"For a long time, districts have been at the centre of managing natural disasters, but we have not been in control of resources, which caused a lot of delays in responding to natural disasters," said Chavula.

She said devolution of disaster management activities will reduce or prevent loss of lives due to the quick response which will be there whenever disasters strike in the districts.

DoDMA has adopted the 1998 Government of Malawi Decentralization Policy to have its activities devolved.

The policy aims at ensuring smoothness and efficiency in implementing and providing government services to citizens.

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