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WFP for resilience to natural disasters

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By Jarson Malowa, Contributor:

World Food Programme (WFP) Country Representative, Benoit Thiry, has said reducing economic losses related to disasters can transform lives and contribute to the zero-hunger agenda.

He was speaking at the 2018 Second National Disaster Risk Management Platform Symposium held in Lilongwe on Wednesday.

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The symposium is a forerunner to the national commemoration of 2018 International Day for Disaster Reduction scheduled for tomorrow at Masintha Ground in Lilongwe.

Thiry said disasters perpetuate economic losses.

“Many of the economic gains made by the economy are swept away in the aftermath of disasters such as droughts or floods. For example, the government of Malawi estimated that the 2015/16 El Niño weather shock led to an annual production loss of $282 million [over K205 billion] for the agriculture sector only. The total estimated losses for the economy were at $500 million, which is more than K360 billion,” he said.

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He said calculating economic losses would help policymakers make risk-informed decisions.

“If an intervention is not risk informed, it is not sustainable. And if it is not sustainable, it has a human cost. In Malawi, those costs manifest themselves in the chronic levels of food insecurity and malnutrition, loss of livelihoods and disruptions to delivery of social services. In addition, the disasters threaten Malawi’s growth and prosperity as agriculture is the main anchor of the country’s economy,” he added.

Chief Secretary to the Government, Lloyd Muhara, said disasters remain a major challenge to the development of the country.

“I implore you to share knowledge and experiences and continue to plan and implement various initiatives that will build resilience,” he said.

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