‘Dodma equipped for 2017/18 disasters’

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) says it is set to handle any disaster should it occur in the 2017/18 agricultural season.

Vice-President Saulos Chilima, who is also Minister of Disaster Management Affairs, said this yesterday in Lilongwe when he received two drones from the Chinese government.

Chilima testing the drone at Capital Hill

He said although disasters come unexpectedly, the department has structures in place to enable it to handle any occurrence.

“We already have structures across the country and very soon, our response teams will be activated so that whenever we hear of any disaster, the response should be timely,” said Chilima.

He thanked the Chinese government for the support it renders to Malawi, saying the current assistance (the two drones) will ease the research and assessment required in disaster stricken areas.

During last rainy season, the department used drones borrowed from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) to assess the damage caused by floods in Salima and Ntandire in Lilongwe.

The donation means that the department now has its own drones which, according to Chilima, will speed up the response in case of a disaster.

Chinese Ambassador Shi Ting Wang, who handed over the drones to Chilima, said the equipment is widely used across the world during disasters and hopes it will make a difference to Malawi’s response power.

He repeated his earlier pledge of China’s continued support to Malawi government, both technically and capacity building by training human resource.

“Drones are very useful and they have proved efficient in many countries across the world. If the department can use them very well, the impact will be big,” said Shi Ting.

He said the drones are worth $10 000 (approximately K7 350 000) and have since become property of Malawi government.

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