DODMA to assist Cyclone Freddy victims with financial resources

Mbengo: We are assisting the worst affected (Photo Credit: Joseph Kayira)

By Joseph Kayira

The Department of Disaster Management (DODMA) says it will assist 3,340 vulnerable households that were affected by Tropical Cyclone Freddy Freddy early this year with financial resources through its early recovery project in the area of Traditional Authority Nkaya in Balaka district.

With funding from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), DODMA officials told a full council meeting today that this is one way of helping the affected households to find a new lease of life and recover after losing property, crops and other valuables to Cyclone Freddy, which affected 13 districts in the southern region.

Beneficiaries will get K150,000 to cater for a period of three months. DODMA plans orient council officials on the project and how to sensitize the public and chiefs on the criteria that was used to select beneficiaries to avoid misunderstandings.

According to DODMA, beneficiaries have been drawn from T/A Nkaya where Tropical Cyclone Freddy wreaked havoc affecting many households and leaving a trail of destruction. T/A Nkaya’s area was the worst hit with over 20 percent of the population affected.

“We do not want any misunderstandings hence the need for council officials to know more about the project before it is implemented. We will work with everyone including councillors and chiefs. We were here to brief the council on the project and it has been duly endorsed,” DODMA chief disaster preparedness officer Natasha Mbengo said.

She said records show that 7,000 households were affected by Tropical Cyclone Freddy and supporting over half of the figure outside the lean period is something they view as timely and worth commending.

“We may not reach out to everyone who was affected by Tropical Cyclone Freddy at the moment but we hope that other interventions will take care of the remaining figure. We are also aware that government is planning to take care of those affected by hunger in another programme in January and February next year,” Mbengo said.

Harawa: We are grateful to our partners (Photo Credit: Joseph Kayira)

Balaka District Commissioner Tamanya Harawa said he was happy and grateful that DODMA had reached out to those who were affected by Tropical Cyclone Freddy. He was optimistic that government and partners would continue to assist all those who were affected by the aftermath of the cyclone.

“This gives us hope that all the affected households in the district will be supported. We are thankful for the project and we hope it will transform families and put them on the path to recovery,” Harawa said.

Earlier, councillors scrutinized officials from DODMA on the project before endorsing it to the delight of chiefs who were part of the full council meeting. Tropical Cyclone Freddy landed in Malawi at a time the country was facing one of its worst cholera outbreaks. It hit households when there was high food insecurity at the peak of the lean season. The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report, whose survey was conducted in June and July 2023, estimates that 4.4 million people will likely not be able to meet their annual food requirement during the 2023/2024 consumption period.