Chakwera warns against misuse of disaster relief items

By Alex Chitwere

President Dr Lazarus Chakwera has warned officials, put responsible for the distribution of relief items against misusing the donations at the expense of vulnerable people.

Chakwera issued the warning on Wednesday at Mulanje Stadium during a memorial service held in honour of Tropical Cyclone Freddy victims, where some development partners also pledged continued support to survivors.

Chakwera at Tropical Cyclone Memorial

““I am thankful for the support we continue to receive. Let me warn some Malawians who are pulling us down by wanting to divert relief support like it happened before with the items from Mozambique part of which did not get to the evacuation camps.

“When others have shown interest to help, let us not be the ones to shut the door on them as if all is well inside,” said Chakwera.

He said government is keen at completing projects underway such as bridges, roads, hospitals, schools and all infrastructure which were damaged during the tropical cyclone.

Earlier, Ambassador for Zimbabwe and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Dr. Nancy Saungweme, said since the cyclone hit the country, several states in solidarity have continued to mobilise resources to complement goverment’s efforts in recovery programme.

She pledged the international community’s continued support to provide technical and logistical support in accordance with the needs of the country.

In his remarks, Country Director for World Food Programme, Paul Turnball, said the impact of the natural disaster has been profound, causing unimaginable loss and suffering to families across the region.

Turnball observed that the number of displaced people underscored the scale of the humanitarian response required.

He, therefore, commended the spirit of unity displayed by Malawians who came together with their resources to provide assistance.

“One crucial aspect of our efforts involves strengthening environmental governance and providing sustainable practices to mitigate the extreme weather events.

“Furthermore, the United Nations is actively engaged in implementing the 2024-2028 United Nations Development Cooperation Framework developed in full alignment with the Malawi 2063 Agenda. There’s also close collaboration with government and stakeholders advancing sustainable diverse and inclusive growth, strengthening institutional governance and ensuring investments in human capital,” said Turnball.

Representative of International Non-Governmental Organisations, Hastings Nyasulu  said the organisations will continue working with local stakeholders to ensure that the survivors bounce back.

He said most of the support is medical supplies, psychosocial support and food relief items among others.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy, which mostly hit 16 districts in the southern region in March last year, affected 2.2 million people, as 650,000 were displaced, 679 killed and 537 people are still missing to date.

The theme for the commemoration was: ‘A resilient nation towards recovery’ and drew people from the 15 districts that were affected by the cyclone.