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Communities prepare for natural disasters

Following  the devastating effects of climate change experienced last year in 15 districts of the country, Eagles Relief and Development has embarked on a first-aid training campaign for communities.

Speaking in an exclusive interview, Eagles Relief and Development Project Facilitator, Justine Hara, said last year was a wakeup call to most Malawians that climate change and global warming result in increased incidences of natural disasters and accidents.

He said his organisation has embarked on a campaign to train communities in first aid to minimize deaths that occur due to mishandling of natural accident victims.

“We are training Village Civil Protection Committees (VCPCs) on first aid because of the increased accidents occurring due to effects of climate change and a warming globe which affected most parts of the country last year,” Hara said.

He said accidents such as flash floods that cause drowning, cholera, houses falling on people, blown off roofs that cut people’s limbs are increasing and communities must have knowledge of first aid to deal with such situations immediately they occur before those involved are taken to hospital.

Hara said Eagles Relief and Development incorporated Disaster Risk Management in the Climate Justice Project to enable communities get ready for such accidents and be able to help victims with first aid.

Chairperson for Red Cross in Balaka, Daniel Malenga, said through the District Disaster Management, they conduct first aid trainings so that lives can be saved during disasters.

“The primary objective for first aid is to save life, minimize pain and mitigate the injury, but when there is no first aid, injuries are aggravated and people end up dying from situations which would otherwise have been treatable,” Malenga said.

He said the dilemma of what people should do to a victim of a natural disaster is very crucial as it is a matter of life and death and any delay can be fatal.

Patricia Kapachika, 32, of Kapachika Village, in the area of Traditional Authority Nsamala in the district said last year her village was badly affected by floods and a lot of people were injured when houses collapsed on them.

“Without the skills and knowledge of first aid, many flood victims’ conditions worsened due to poor handling of communities before medical assistance could be sought,” she said.

Eagles Relief and Development, a development arm of the Living Waters Church, has targeted 75 people in areas such as Silika, Kalembo, Kachenga and Chiyendausiku with the first aid trainings.

The organisation is also implementing the Climate Justice Project in 16 Group Village Heads in T/As Kalembo, Nsamala and Sub T/A Kachenga with funding from Tear Fund (Scotland) to the tune of K93 million.

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