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Long road to floods recovery

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Malawians, who may have been waiting for a quick fix in the aftermath of the floods that affected the country early this year, may have to wait longer before the country achieves full recovery.

This is because other than launching a report last week on the damage caused by the floods that occurred early this year, there are no timelines set for recovery and reconstruction activities.

Worse still, of the US$494 million total recovery cost, only US$80 is available, courtesy of the World Bank.

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According to the Malawi 2015 Floods Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) report which President Peter Mutharika launched last week, the floods exacted damages and losses estimated at K145 billion (US$335 million).

The report estimates the cost of reconstruction needs to be over K215 billion (US$494 million).

And the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) has since admitted that there is still “a huge gap” in the status of financing “to address all the recovery and reconstruction needs specified in the report”.

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Government, therefore, counts on continued financial pledges from within and outside the country as part of the recovery framework.

And the department has indicated that the release of the report last week is just part of the process before full recovery and reconstruction can be achieved.

Director at Dodma, James Chiusiwa, said the formal release of the report will be followed by the development of what he called a comprehensive recovery framework.

“Dodma has already started the process of engaging development partners and all stakeholders to develop the recovery framework.

“The process includes building on the findings of the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment by further refining, quantifying and aligning recovery activities to ongoing development effort,” he said, in his response to our emailed questions.

Government will use that framework to formally mobilise and coordinate resource allocations for the unfunded recovery interventions, he said.

Asked what timelines have been set on the recovery activities, Chiusiwa said the yet-to-be developed framework will specify recovery priorities in terms of time, location, what starts and the needs.

On funding, Chiusiwa said the financing mechanism, which will accompany the framework, will depend on existing and new financing within government and among development partners.

Launching the report on Thursday last week, Mutharika admitted that recovery and reconstruction in the flood-affected districts will not be an easy task.

“Restoring these services and assets will not be easy. I, therefore, call upon all of us to join hands and act with unity of purpose as a nation to restore these services and assets,” he said.

According to the report, the housing sector suffered the highest damage calculated at K59.3 billion (US$ 136.4 million).

The damage for the agriculture sector is calculated at the cost K 23.7 billion (US$ 54.4 million) while losses in the transport and water and sanitation sector are pegged at K21.9 billion (US$ 50.4 million) and K 8.2 billion (US$18.9 million).

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