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Malawi disaster recovery plan worries United Nations

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The United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Mia Seppo says players responsible for disaster risk management have not lived up to the expectations of the public by playing an active role in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) programme meant to protect human lives.

Seppo said this after noting that Malawi has had many lessons from previous years of recovery efforts, but the challenge has been to incorporate the lessons and to translate them into action to enable people to “build back better.”

She said it is hurting to note that many of the excellent recommendations made in the 2012 Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) relating to recovery have not been implemented.

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“I believe we must ask ourselves the difficult question of why have our previous efforts at recovery not been successful in building long term resilience and what can we do differently this time?” asked Seppo on Wednesday.

Seppo said there was need to define the vision of recovery by looking at what it means at the household level, for the community, district as well as for Malawi.

“In doing so, you will need to recognise that the districts are different and, therefore, so are the recovery priorities based on what crop is best suited to the land and the specific vulnerabilities to natural events,” she said.

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European Union (EU) Head of Cooperation in Malawi Luis Navarro said government and development partners’ approaches and policies need to be revisited to suit the changing needs for the future development.

He said for this Recovery Framework to be effective, it needs to be based upon long-term development plans that have a robust and transparent public financial management system in place.

Principal Secretary for the Department of Disaster Management Affairs Paul Chiunguzeni said there is need to further refine and quantify the findings of the PDNA and align the necessary recovery activities to ongoing development efforts.

“We need to engage in a process that helps us in ensuring a coordinated recovery approach which efficiently and effectively builds back better and develops coherent programmes that bridge the gap between recovery and development,” Chiunguzeni said.

The floods that affected 1.1 million, displaced 230,000 people and killed 106 people has seen government recently approving US$36 billion loan from the World Bank, for the recovery stage.

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