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Data lapses hamper disaster response

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Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs Charles Kalemba has blamed humanitarian response delays on lack of real-time quality data.

Speaking during the opening of the 2022 Malawi Data Summit in Lilongwe Thursday, Kalemba urged data managers to ensure they provide reliable information.

He said the creation of a coordinated data platform is key to addressing the problem of delays in relaying disaster-related information.

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The commissioner said reliable data could aid policymakers’ decision-making processes.

He said real-time and high-quality data would help policyholders make evidence-based decisions.

“It is useless to have a lot of data that is failing to get to decision makers. A combination of data you gather on the ground and technology will assist us make decisions that would save lives. Without knowing who is where, who needs what where and when [it will be difficult to do so],” he said.

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The summit has brought together stakeholders, who are expected to discuss how to mitigate and respond better to natural disasters and social shocks.

United Nations Population Fund Country Representative Young Hong said ensuring access to quality data enables the government and other actors aptly respond to calls for assistance.

“It is essential to have accurate, reliable, timely and disaggregated data so that we effectively track the unprecedented range of economic, social and environmental goals that are integrated under sustainable development,” she said.

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