Mitigation against natural disasters

Climate Change has resulted in adverse impacts making agriculture sector vulnerable, causing prolonged dry spells, droughts, changes in rainfall patterns and floods which have posed a serious risk in food production, electricity generation and aquatic life.

Deforestation is one of the major causes of climate change.

From 2001 and 2017, Malawi lost 149 000 hectares of tree cover equivalent to 9.8 percent decrease since 2000 and a total of 13.4 metric tons of carbon emissions in the same period.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is implementing Goal number 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by helping more vulnerable regions of climate change, which includes Malawi, to adapt to climate change and integrate disaster risk measures to national strategies. 

 Government is implementing the Climate Change National Adaptation Plan (NAP) through Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III (MDSGs III) to address climate change adaptation in holistic manner, to enable setting up or strengthening of an institutional mechanism to integrate climate change adaptation priorities into broader development economic planning and build resilient communities.

I would like to acknowledge the efforts being done by the government, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and individuals in tree planting exercises around the country to adapt and mitigate effects of climate change.

A lot of companies have recently responded well by initiating tree planting exercises in different locations in the country as part of corporate social responsibility.

However, I have observed that most of these projects lack sustainability whereby most of the trees experience premature death due to lack of care and management.

Most of them just want to make headlines in the newspaper or television, but tree planting is not a one day job with journalists flashing pictures; there is more to be done after planting.

It is sad to note that only 60 percent of the trees planted survive due to poor care and management.

It is recommendable that the government and private sector include tree management and community engagement and sensitisation in their tree planting exercises to achieve high survival rate.

I further recommend that experts in forest management be involved in the projects to ensure high survival rate.

Recently, heavy rains and flash floods have affected most of the Sothern Region of Malawi following the tropical disturbance over Mozambique Channel.

Reports indicate that 45 people have died, two people are missing and 577 injured.

Over 14 districts have been affected with fierce impacts in Nsanje and Phalombe where over 45 000 and 25 000 people have been affected respectively.

One of the biggest solutions to flood control is construction of dams. While dams have been mainly constructed for irrigation and power generation, their role in flood control has always been underestimated.

It is high time that the Government and the private sector consider channelling some of the funds to construct flood control dams which have a tremendous impact in controlling surface runoff and in turn mitigating impacts of floods.

Observed changes in precipitation patterns, rising surface temperature, increases in frequency and intensity of floods and drought are some of the documented hydrological changes associated with climate change.

Climate change has brought about hydrological implications which have affected the design capacity and operating characteristics of existing dams.

Water resources systems will remain vulnerable to floods and droughts.

Government must consider increasing the size of existing dams and construct new dams, in addition to modifying their operations in order to maintain flood control storage, drought resilience, ecological flow, and human water demand and electricity generation. n

Share This Post