Chakwera declares state of national disaster


President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, has declared a state of national disaster across Malawi due to the Coronavirus pandemic and has appealed for assistance in cash and in kind.

The president made the declaration on Tuesday during a national address held amid a rise in Coronavirus cases on the country.

The Malawi leader appealed for assistance from the international community, relevant United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector for uncommon contributions towards the resources needed to meet the present challenge of the pandemic.

He then warned that a state of emergency may be declared in future if the situation worsens.

“This declaration of a state of national disaster is but a first step towards a possible declaration of a state of emergency subject to consultation with and approval from the Defense and Security Committee of the National Assembly as stipulated in Section 45 of the Constitution,” said Chakwera.

The Malawi leader during the national address announced that he has called for an emergency meeting of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 to explore additional measures to be effected immediately in view of the declaration of a state of national disaster across the country.

He also said that he has directed the Ministers of Health, Homeland Security, Education, Civic Education, Local Government, Justice, and Information to work together with the Vice-President in reviewing Malawi’s Covid-19 guidelines for curbing the spread of the virus and recommend to the Covid-19 Taskforce any amendments to be made to those guidelines and the enforcement of the same.

Chakwera’s speech came hours after the deaths of two cabinet minister Sidik Mia and Lingson Belekanyama who succumbed to Covid-19.

In his message to Malawians, Chakwera described the current period as one of the darkest hours in the history of the country. He said he knows that people are frightened and feel helpless and under siege due to the pandemic.

“But I want you to know that we as a people have what it takes to not just survive this, but to defeat it. It is no accident that of all the nations in the world, it is this nation that God chose to be our home. It is no accident that God chose us to be Malawians on this side of heaven.

“We were born in this nation for such a time as this, and we must rise together as one army to fight off this enemy. We must rise together to do what the health experts have been telling us to in order to stay this tide. We can do it and we must do it,” he said.

He then urged people to wear a mask in public, wash hands, keep a distance from others to avoid infection and avoid crowded places at all cost.

The Malawi leader promised to see it that Malawians overcomes the pandemic and rise from the ashes with new strength.

Malawi has seen a rapid rise in Coronavirus cases since the start of this new year as number of people confirmed to be newly infected this year has exceeded 2500.

This has pushed the total number of confirmed cases past 9000, of which more than 7000 have been local transmissions.