Malawi president 'shocked' by flood devastation

Shocking devastation with people in desperate need of aid and assistance.

Malawi president 'shocked' by flood devastation
World Bulletin / News Desk
 
 Malawian President Peter Mutharika on Friday visited the southern Mangochi region to assess damage caused by recent flooding, where he said he was "shocked" by the scale of the devastation.

"I am shocked at the damage. People are in need of help as soon as possible," Mutharika told reporters during the visit.

He was quick, however, to assure flood victims that his government would spare no effort to help them.

"I want to assure you that there is goodwill from our friends and neighbors who are ready to assist you. My government has asked for help and you will get it," Mutharika said, citing countries like Sweden, Botswana, South Africa and the U.S., all of which have signaled their readiness to assist flood-hit Malawi.

The Malawian leader warned corrupt government officials and aid workers not to siphon off assistance given to flood victims.

"No one should abuse the aid. Relief aid should go to the intended beneficiaries," he said.

Heavy rainfall has swept many homes away in Malawi and damaged thousands of hectares of agricultural land.

Many people have lost livestock, while residents in flood-hit areas have fled to higher ground. Others – some of whom have been counted among the missing – have crossed the border into Mozambique.

In Mangochi, some 1,526 families have been affected by the floods, 458 have had their homes completely destroyed, and 3,871 have seen their farmland ruined.

Malawian officials estimate that the country will need over 5 billion Malawian kwacha (roughly $10 million) to rehabilitate flood victims.

Relief Efforts

Earlier Friday, Vice President Saulosi Chilima said that the floods had so far killed 176 people and displaced some 175,000 others in the Lower Shire region.

In exclusive comments to The Anadolu Agency, Chilima said that the needed resources would be mobilized from the government's own coffers and from well-wishers.

"As the rescue mission continues, we have to obtain tents, about 3,777 of which are needed," Chilima, who also serves as disaster preparedness minister, told AA.

"We have to provide accommodations for survivors. We have to see whether certain structures can be quickly rebuilt. Affected people must also be fed," he said.

Chilima also assured survivors whose crops had been swept away that they would be given fresh crops to plant.

"There are also roads to be rebuilt to facilitate the movement of relief supplies to affected areas," he said.

On Tuesday, the scale of the damage prompted Chilima to declare one third of the country a "disaster zone" and issue an appeal for international assistance.

Information Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa, for his part, said the UN had moved in to assess the damage and to provide experts and aircraft to help deal with the challenges that had overwhelmed the local authorities.

He could not specify the number of experts or the exact tasks with which they would be assigned, but said the promised aircraft had been scheduled to arrive in the country yesterday.

"These aircraft will immediately join the rescue mission and relief efforts currently being spearheaded by the Malawi Defense Force," he told AA.

UN Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo, for her part, said that UNICEF would soon bring in a planeload of supplies, including water, sanitation equipment and other essential non-food items, such as tents, tarpaulins and cooking equipment.

"The food response is funded by the U.K., the U.S. and Germany. The cash response is funded by Norway and Ireland," Seppo said in a written response to AA's questions.

She added that the WFP, the UNFPA, the FAO and the UNDP – along with other UN agencies – were also helping the relief effort.

 

Last Mod: 17 Ocak 2015, 10:05
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