Government has warned against disjointed Cyclone Freddy relief efforts, warning that it could be a catalyst for theft, abuse, duplication and wastage of resources.
In a telephone interview yesterday Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) commissioner Charles Kalemba said only concerted efforts and proper coordination among different players in the distribution of the relief items guarantees success.
He, however, pointed out that government cannot dictate private initiatives, but stressed that using normal channels such as district councils ensures that there is guidance and equitable allocation of resources to avoid duplication and other needy people being left out.
As of Thursday, the death toll stood at 326 with 796 injured and 201 missing while 1 044 had been rescued. The disaster has displaced over 40 700 households.
Said Kalemba: “People have the liberty to go and donate wherever they want, but as government, ours is an appeal that seeking guidance from councils assures that resources are not going to one area, because some players may just want to do tourism assistance for cameras to flash.”
Commenting on the relief efforts, Kalemba acknowledged that other players have different motives, including stealing; hence the need to coordinate to effectively reach out to those in need.
He also refuted reports that the department bought kapenta worth K200 million from Tanzania, but said the department only bought, locally, relish worth K7 million.
According to him, Dodma follows normal procurement processes and that the supplier of the relish Meyi Traders is accredited by Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority.
President Lazarus Chakwera on Monday declared a State of Disaster in the 10 districts hit by the cyclone and appealed for assistance from local and international well-wishers. He also announced that the Malawi Government has released K1.6 billion for the response efforts.
Meanwhile, the Government of Zambia says it will send helicopters and personnel to shore up the country’s efforts to search and rescue victims of Cyclone Freddy.
The disaster, one of the worst in recent years, has killed over 320 people and displaced over 40 000 households. It has also caused significant damage to infrastructure in the Southern Region districts where survivors are lodging in camps.
Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda confirmed Zambia’s intervention when she received the neighbouring country’s donation of food, hygiene and shelter materials at Kamuzu International Airport in Lilongwe yesterday.
She said: “They are going to send personal and helicopters to assist us with search and rescue. You are aware that we have some other areas where people are still stranded up to now.
According to a Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) update issued on Thursday, an estimated 201 people are missing following the floods and heavy rains.
Presenting the donation, Zambia High Commissioner Panji Kaunda described the country’s situation as catastrophic, hence their intervention.
He said: “There was no way our President could sit aside and watch Malawians suffer. Zambia and Malawi are not very rich. Our richness is not in material. It is in the heart. Tomorrow it could be us. Nature doesn’t choose where it falls.”
The items include 100 metric tonnes of maize, 50 bags of beans, tents, blankets, sanitary kits and chlorine. A bulk of the materials are expected to come by road