Reinforcing Resilience to Natural Disasters in Disaster Prone Districts in MalawiMay 15, 2017
10 May, 2017. Lilongwe: His Excellency Shi Ting Wang, Ambassador of China to Malawi, and Ms. Mia Seppo, the United Nations Resident Coordinator undertook a half-day site-visit to Salima to appreciate the accomplishments achieved under the existing trilateral cooperation between the People’s Republic of China, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) in Malawi, and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Salima district is one of the 15 disaster prone districts. Almost every year Salima is severely affected by floods during the rainy season. In the recent past, for instance, in February this year, Salima was hit by flooding which caused damage to roads, railway, businesses and households; displacing over 1000 persons.
In June 2016, the first trilateral cooperation between the People’s Republic of China, Government of Malawi and UNDP was formed. This cooperation, which took the form of small grants scheme in which Non-Govenmental Organizations (NGOs) and Community Based Organizations (CBOs) from disaster prone districts of Malawi received small grants to implement disaster risk management projects in their communities. The main aim of the partnership is for China to aid Malawi to minimize damages caused by flooding.
So far, evacuation centers have been constructed in Karonga, Salima, Mangochi and Nsanje districts to host those who will be displaced during flooding seasons; while a dyke is expected to be constructed in Chikwawa and a check dam in Mangochi to control flooding. All the construction is done with technical guidance from the Government of Malawi, specifically the Department of Housing, the Department of Buildings and the Department of Water Resources.
The centers not only serve as safe havens but during periods when there are no floods, they will be used for income generating activities and as classrooms for children. This project is expected to benefit approximately 5,000 people.
An evacuation center which can host at least 200 people has been constructed in Salima, complete with a storage area, kitchen, borehole and separate hygiene &sanitation facilities for men and women.
“I am very impressed. You can see the design, the quality of the work. They are one of the best. We are very happy and satisfied with the project,” said Hon. Shi Ting Wang. “This will become a multipurpose facility. The students will have a decent place to study; the local community will have a place to have meetings, weddings and therefore generate income.”
The UN resident coordinator emphasized the community based approach. “This project, which is almost completed, is built to the wishes of the community, with the support of the community and thanks to the community engagement we expect the project to be sustainable ,” she said.
The China-Malawi-UNDP Cooperation Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Project is one component of the China-Africa-UNDP Cooperation Umbrella Programme started in December 2013. This project is integrated into the Government of Malawi’s disaster risk reduction policy and the UNDP-supported Disaster Risk management (DRM) Support Programme.
UNDP and the People’s Republic of China signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2010 on South-South Cooperation, a broad framework for collaboration among countries of the South in the political, economic, social, cultural, environmental and technical domains.