Malawi: Mutharika Snubs Cyclone Freddy Disaster Recovery Plan Meeting
Former President Peter Mutharika was on Wednesday conspicuously missing from a crucial meeting the country’s former heads of state attended aimed at drawing a recovery plan after the devastating cyclone Freddy induced disaster.
Former presidents Joyce Banda and Bakili Muluzi were joined by other stakeholders during the meeting which was held at Muluzi’s BCA residence in Blantyre.
President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera appointed all the former heads of state in the country as goodwill ambassadors for tropical cyclone Freddy but Mutharika turned down the appointment, saying he was not a technocrat to hold such a position.
Speaking after the meeting, Banda said there is need for joint efforts if Malawi is to recover from the effects of Tropical Cyclone Freddy which has left hundreds dead and thousands destitute.
She said views from different stakeholders all suggest that to avoid future disasters, all stakeholders should take part since such matters are multi-sectoral in nature.
“For example, when people build houses in undesignated places, Blantyre City Council can order people to vacate such places and you will find that people are going to court to get injunction.
“Similarly, you will find that utility providers like Blantyre Water Board and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) are rendering services in those disaster prone places in the name of human rights, among others.
“Given this scenario, you would see that there are several stakeholders concerned and they need to work as a unit to avoid devastation caused by disasters such as Cyclone Freddy where hundreds of lives have been lost,” said Banda.
In his remarks Muluzi said as goodwill ambassadors for Tropical Cyclone Freddy recovery, their first assignment is to ensure that there is massive awareness and sensitisation.
Muluzi has since called on all stakeholders to spread messages relating to dangers of staying in disaster prone areas among communities.
Muluzi said survivors need to be given assistance in the camps while waiting for them to recover, saying as ambassadors, they recommend that the survivors be given farm inputs such as seeds and fertilizers for them to plant.
He added that where possible, well-wishers can also build small houses for survivors in safe places where government can provide land.
Meanwhile, the two former heads of state have advised government that the post cyclone recovery plan currently being drafted, should include donors and development partners saying some disasters are due to climate change resulting from industrialisation.
Representatives from the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), Department of Climate Change and Meteorology Services, police, Malawi Red Cross Society, traditional leaders, health, Blantyre city and district council officials, among others, were also in attendance.