Alfred Guta

Alfred Guta

A group calling itself concerned friends of Makhanga has petitioned Nsanje District Commissioner quizzing the government for allegedly forcing people in the area to relocate upland.

Nsanje corruption whistleblowers have demanded protection from law enforcers claiming they stopped reporting corruption cases for fear of retaliation.

A local Non-Governmental Organization in Nsanje, Action for Rural Development, has decried gaps in Early Childhood Development (ECD) services in the district.

Nsanje Civil Society Network is on authorities’ neck demanding action on completion of Nsanje boma market project.

Minister of Transport Jacob Hara has conceded poor workmanship on a 27-kilometer Nsanje-Marka road that has cost over K11 billion.

The Chikwawa Magistrate’s Court has slapped a Zimbabwean, Tinashe Sharen 28, with a K1 million fine for causing death of an 11-year boy.

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has admitted gaps on disaster preparedness, saying the focus has mostly been on response.
 
Reverend Moses Chimphepo, DoDMA Director of Response and Recovery, told Zodiak Online Thursday this has resulted in huge losses to lives and property.
 
Reverend Chimphepo said; “As a department we want to minimize such losses. Disasters in Malawi are usually weather related. The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological issues alerts of imminent disasters, as a result of normal to above normal rainfall”.  
 
“As a department we need to engage an extra gear, and all the humanitarian partners we should come together and prepare. Preparedness helps us to put everything in order, both logistically and also trying to save lives,” explained Reverend Chimphepo.
 
He added; “The setting up of early warning systems helps to save lives. It is a very critical area, but we have focused more on providing response when we are already hit. As a department, we want to prepare adequately, so that when we are hit the loss and damages, especially to lives should be very minimal”.
 
He further described the simulation exercise as critical, in preparedness processes.

Julie Vander Wiel-Hakme, WFP Head of Supply Chain, said the exercise was meant to build the national capacity for disaster preparedness and response targeting those who will respond to emergencies.
 
“We have involved government partners, NGO partners, and district council officials focusing on nitty-gritties of the core skills that they need to respond”.

He added; “We can all do better, there is always room for improvement. We have learnt a lot over the last cyclone Freddy response cycle. We had a review just last week, where we looked at tangible actions, and have been applied during the training”.

The World Food Program and the government built a Humanitarian Staging Area (HAS) at Bangula following tropical cyclone Freddy Idai in 2019.

Statistics indicate that tropical cyclone Freddy which hit the southern part of the country early this year, claimed over 1000 lives and half a million were displaced.
 

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA) has maintained its August 31, 2023 deadline for councils to complete the relocation process of tropical cyclone Freddy survivors.

DODMA commissioner, Charles Kalemba says, so far, district councils namely; Mulanje, Phalombe, Chiradzulu, Mangoch, Blantyre city and partly Nsanje have already identified land and some have started relocating the survivors.
According to Kalemba, DODMA only supports councils where they need assistance.

“DoDMA also facilitates provision of certain amenities. For example, in Nsanje, Makhanga area, DoDMA has disbursed funds to the district council to drill boreholes.

“We are targeting the places where people are supposed to be relocated to or have already started being relocated to.

He further said: “We have been meeting councils and given ourselves August end. We must make sure we have identified land and either complete the relocation or start the survivors' relocation.”

Nsanje district council spokesperson, Robert Nayeja confirmed receipt of the funds on Thursday, saying efforts are in place to meet the set deadline.

“We have received K15 million towards the sinking of boreholes for those seeking relocation.

“We are working with community leaders to identify land where we can relocate the survivors, but also conduct assessments to ascertain if the land is appropriate for relocation,” explained Nayeja.

According to Nayeja, the findings of the assessments are submitted to DoDMA for payment of compensation.

Records indicate that cyclone Freddy, which hit the country early this year, claimed over 1000 lives and more than half a million were displaced.  

Recently, Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) Regional Coordinator for the South, Victor Khwima, dared authorities to speed up the relocation process so the survivors can rebuild their lives.

Minister of Transport, Jacob Hara, has disclosed that the government has allocated K6 billion towards repairs to some Tropical Cyclone Freddy damaged roads and bridges.

Nsanje Catholic Primary School learners have raised concerns that standards of education have declined at the school blaming it on shortage of textbooks.  

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