Malawi: New early warning system to reduce mortalities and loss

Author

Nellie Kanyemba Kapatuka

Source(s)
Disaster Risk Reduction Network of African Journalists
Little African Boy At The Community Borehole Quenching His Thirst
Riccardo Mayer/Shutterstock

Over the past five decades, Malawi has experienced more than 19 major floods and seven droughts, and these events are increasing in frequency, magnitude and scope over the years. Flooding was particularly severe in 2015, killing over 250 people and displacing 230,000 others. Over 600,000 people were affected. And now the country has developed a 72 hour alert period – flood early warning system. The system is connected to a server that is designed to send automated messages to key persons in the line departments where the resulting information will be better disseminated to the affected populations. 

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The project is based along the rivers Bua and Linthipe in the central region, which are a major source of floodwater in Malawi. Principal Hydrologist in Malawi’s Department of Water Resources, Hastings Mbale emphasized the need for involvement of community leaders at all levels if efforts being made to reduce and mitigate disaster impacts are to materialize. “These (efforts) can best be championed by the people themselves hence calling them here to make them aware and also familiarize them with the system so they know exactly what is going on,” said Mbale. 

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