The Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) has introduced a new project in three districts of Chikwawa, Nsanje and Zomba whose objective is to enhance collaboration among various partners in responding to natural disasters.
MRCS’s Disaster Risk Reduction Officer for Chikwawa, Darius Chiwaula presented the project during a District Executive Committee (DEC) meeting in Chikwawa on Friday.
The 18 months project called: ‘Enhancing resilience in Malawi,’ aims at strengthening the capacity of various structures involved with disaster response and humanitarian aid such as district, area and civil protection committees among others.
Chiwaula emphasized that it was important for different partners in disaster risk management to be empowered to effectively respond to natural hazards immediately when they strike.
“The project attempts to ensure that people living in disaster prone areas in the area of T/As Makhuwira in Chikwawa, Ndamera in Nsanje and Mwambo in Zomba have increased capacities with regards to community based disaster preparedness, response and early recovery mechanisms to reduce the impact of natural disasters,” he said.
Chiwaula pointed out that the project, financed by the European Union Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) will benefit over 240,000 beneficiaries in all the three districts.
“As you may be aware, the project interventions would in the long run contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 6, 11 and 13 directly where issues of poverty eradication, provision of clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities as well as issues of climate change are addressed,” he added.
Chikwawa is one of the districts which experience natural hazards nearly every year with the most devastating floods occurring in 2015 followed by dry spells in 2016. The project will be implemented with technical support from the Belgian Red Cross.
However, the Netherlands Red Cross is leading an innovative drone based hazard and risk mapping exercise which seeks to identify areas most prone to flooding, droughts and later inform the target areas of the project with the aim of improving the accuracy and effectiveness of responses.
“The project blends cutting edge mapping and monitoring technology with simple and reliable community based monitoring tools to identify and track hazards,” Chiwaula added.
“Interventions which are appropriate to the local setting, easily replicated and implemented in remote rural areas have been adopted to support disaster preparedness and capacity building exercises,” he said.
It is envisaged that at the end of the 18 months of the project, communities would have the capacity to collaborate to prepare the most disaster prone villages to become resilient, prepared and capable of withstanding the unpredictable impacts of natural hazards.