Relocate, Bakili Muluzi, Joyce Banda tell cyclone survivors
Former heads of State Bakili Muluzi and Joyce Banda, who are Tropical Cyclone Freddy goodwill ambassadors, have asked people that were affected by the natural phenomenon to rebuild in disaster-safe areas.
The two former presidents made the remarks Wednesday when they interfaced with Blantyre District Council, Department of Disaster Management Affairs officials and other stakeholders in Blantyre.
Banda said, from the look of things, it is clear that climate change will have a lasting effect on countries such as Malawi, such that there is a need for lifestyle adjustment.
“The information we are getting is that, because of climate change, we are prone [to climatic shocks] and cyclones are bound to keep occurring. The President [Lazarus Chakwera] asked Dr Muluzi and I to assist as goodwill ambassadors and my understanding of a goodwill ambassador is that we have to go out there and support [recovery efforts].
“One thing he emphasised was the need to sensitise Malawians to the importance of doing their part and making sure that they do not go back to those dangerous places so that we, as a country, do not lose lives in that manner again. Cyclone will come back but what is required is that we must ensure that we train and prepare ourselves for next time. This means working with all stakeholders for the betterment of our lives,” she said.
Muluzi concurred with Banda, saying people who stay in disaster-prone areas have no option but to move to safer places.
“You may recall that, back in January 2022, we experienced Cyclone Ana followed by Gombe; we lost people that time. What we are seeing now is a continuation of what we saw last year. Now the question that we, as a nation, should be asking ourselves is: Should we continue suffering like that? Our message to our chiefs in Blantyre and elsewhere is that those that are in areas that are prone to disasters should move away and go to a safer place,” he said.
Senior Chief Kapeni of Blantyre reiterated his commitment to ensuring that people relocate to safer lands.
“This message is loud and clear and we, as chiefs, will ensure that this message is passed on to the people and implemented so that disasters should not be claiming as many lives as they have done this time around,” he said.