Physical planners call for bold action after Cyclone Freddy

‘Rapid and unplanned urbanisation in Malawi is making cities more vulnerable to hazards.’


Malawi Institute of Physical Planners (Mipp) has called for immediate and decisive action in restoration of infrastructure broken by the Tropical Cyclone Freddy.

The institute says it is sad that the country’s leadership and other stakeholders are now quiet and comfortable with the status of the cyclone without minding about restoring the broken infrastructure.

The institute has faulted the huge obsession for Malawians to make food donations all the time disasters strike and forgetting about replacing the broken infrastructure.


The sentiments came on Friday during Mipp’s annual general meeting in Salima.

John Chome, a member of the institute, said in his presentation that experts have stopped talking about Cyclone Freddy as if nothing happened.

“We have seven months to the next rainy season and we are doing nothing about restoring the broken infrastructure.


“If we receive another cyclone in the next seven months, it may wipe out all that is remaining,” said Chome, a former Chief Executive Officer for Lilongwe City Council.

Chome blamed political leaders for failing to make bold decisions that can provide long lasting solutions to challenges the country faces.

“Our political leaders must make bold decisions. Our leaders need to move away from appeasement decisions if the country is to progress,” Chome added. Chome also challenged his fellow physical planners to come up with realistic physical planning advice.

“We must ask ourselves why we have been receiving floods for the last 10 years. Our city drains are the same and subjected to siltation. We need to change our building designs to accommodate resilience,” Chome said.

He added: “It is a shame that by now we still have people in camps and we are happy to be seen donating soya pieces and we are quiet about restoring the broken infrastructure.” Chome warned that the country may continue receiving natural disasters because it has relaxed on risk management.

“We are creating perfect conditions for storms like Cyclone Freddy. We have not considered risk in the management of these disasters. Rapid and unplanned urbanisation in Malawi is making cities more vulnerable to hazards,” Chome said.

Costly Chanza, Director of City Planning and Estates at Blantyre City Council and also a member of the institute, said authorities need to make bold decisions to provide tangible solutions to factors that lead to disasters.

Chanza said with seven months to another rainy season and possible disasters, the country needs to work on replacing the destroyed infrastructure and get prepared for any disasters.

He challenged fellow physical planners to implement their plans for the benefit of the country.

Principal Secretary for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Davie Chilonga, said the government is now busy looking for land to relocate the displaced people.

“We are not quiet. As government we are looking for land for resettlement of the people,” Chilonga said.

The meeting took place under the theme: ‘Planning for safe and resilient built environment’.

The meeting ushered in Gilbert Chilinde as the institute’s next president replacing Derrick Mamiwa.

Chilinde urged the members to think outside the box and begin to devise strategies that the institute will use to fulfil its contributions to Malawi’s 2063 development agenda.

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