The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) has transferred some of its disaster risk management functions to district councils as part of government’s Decentralisation Policy.
Commissioner for Dodma, Wilson Moleni said in an interview on Friday during a district consultative meeting in Blantyre that the development means disaster management will be more effective.
He said some of the functions transferred to councils include disaster risk reduction activities, disaster preparedness activities, formation of civil committees and trainings.
Said Moleni: “Government adopted the Decentralisation Policy some 20 years ago and a couple of ministries and departments have been devolving their functions. So, Dodma has also followed suit on that trajectory to devolve some of its functions and we developed a devolution plan which has been approved.”
He said government has since allocated K1 billion to the devolved disaster risk management functions towards councils in the 2019/20 financial year.
Out of the K1 billion, K330 million has been provided in the provisional budget ending September where 15 councils have been prioritised.
Chiradzulu district commissioner (DC) Reinghard Chavula in a separate interview described the development as encouraging, saying councils will now feel empowered in responding quickly to disasters.
During the consultative meeting, councils were urged to ensure that resources are managed in accordance with the mandate, vision and mission of Dodma.
According to a recent projection contained in the 2019 Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA), the floods that hit 15 districts in March this year led to a negligible 0.12 percent loss in the country’s nominal gross domestic product (GDP) valued at $6.3 billion (about K4.7 trillion).