For years, Malawi has faced tragic floods resulting in a great loss of lives and property.
This year 56 people have died due to floods.
In 2012, floods the southern districts affected over 10, 000 people and caused $3million worth of damage to households and infrastructure.
In 2015, statisticians said an estimate of 1, 101, 264 people were affected, 230, 000 displaced, over 170 killed and 172 reported missing. The assessment has shown that total damage and loss was $335 million while total cost of recovery and reconstruction was $494 million.
But this year, floods remain much larger in magnitude, even unprecedented as meanwhile, there are fears of further floods as the Department of Meteorology and Climate Change warns of more heavy downpours that could trigger flash floods in floods prone districts.
Billions of Kwacha have been spent over the decades on flood reduction programmes in the southernmost districts but seemingly.
In 2018, MK290 million was allocated to Shire River Basin Management Programme BRL to construct an 823 meter dyke along the Nkhande river in the area of Senior Chief Tengani in Nsanje. The main aim of the dyke was to protect the communities from floods the dyke was constructed substandard which would not protect the residents as intended.
Later, Malawi vice president Saulos Chilima blasted Anati Jere, the engineer for poor work on the construction and called it a ‘waste of resources’.
Each year, plenty of billions are allocated to monitor floods and recover damages and as well as reconstruct the flooded areas. But what does the government do to reduce floods?
It appears that up to date, the areas which experience floods perpetually have not taken any precautionary acts such to diminish upcoming unexpected floods.
It is very clear that the billions that have been flowing over the decades for floods relief, if they were spent appropriately, some measures that would have prevented more damages this current flood would have been less unforeseen. The government usually acts on floods once they strike but never acts before a disaster. It could have improved Malawi’s flooding warning systems enabling people to have more time to take action before the floods, potentially saving lives and property damages.
The Government, with all the funds it obtains from flood relief programs, up to now hasn’t introduced very crucial schemes in flood prone areas such as constructing buildings above flood levels. Up to now, districts like Chikwawa, Phalombe, and Nsanje still build houses at below flood levels and most of their houses are poorly constructed as they are not concrete and get easily washed away.
There’s a lot that Malawi Government would have done to reduce floods but it is not acting with much emphasis. Rather, the appointed authorities responsible for helping the country are too sensitive about money and they are very corrupt.
There’s is no silver bullet for fighting corruption. Many countries have made significant progress curbing the behaviour, however practitioners are always on the lookout for solutions and evidence of impact.
Corruption is the major key affecting the poverty line in Malawi. If the Government doesn’t take serious precautions to reduce floods, more avoidable disasters will still come.