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Disasters kill 13

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The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) says up to 13 people have died in nature-related accidents since the onset of this year’s rainy season.

In a statement, Commissioner for Disasters Charles Kalemba says the rainy season has started with extreme weather conditions, mainly stormy rains, strong winds and lightning in 12 councils of Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dedza, Dowa, Lilongwe City, Mangochi District, Mchinji, Mulanje, Mzuzu City, Neno and Nkhotakota.

“Cumulatively, 2,526 households, which is approximately 11,376 people, have been affected. A total of 13 deaths have been recorded (eight due to lightning strikes and five due to collapsed walls following stormy rains). So far, 29 injuries have been registered and the disasters have also caused some damage to public infrastructure, mainly school blocks and health facilities.

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“Currently, the department has reached out to 1,662 households (approximately 7,479 people) with relief assistance, notably maize, family tents, housing units, kitchen utensils and plastic sheets for temporary roofing. Provision of relief assistance is on-going and the department will reach out to all the affected people as per the reports from councils,” he said.

Kalemba fears that due to climate change, the magnitude and frequency of such disasters may continue impacting communities.

The 2021-22 rainy season was one of the deadliest in recent history, with tropical storms Ana and Gombe alone killing 46 and 39 people, respectively.

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During his recent travel to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Egypt, President Lazarus Chakwera asked rich countries to assist Malawi with finances to rebuild damaged infrastructure.

Chakwera said Malawi needs resources to rebuild roads, bridges, canals, power stations and markets which, he said, are key to the attainment of food security goals.

“While we call on partners to support eco-friendly debt financial instruments in the form of green and blue bonds for purposes of transitioning towards a more sustainable food system, we also require financing for climate-caused loss and damage of food and other assets, such as roads, bridges, canals, power stations and markets,” he said.

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