Malawi President Peter Mutharika has expressed worry over climate change which he said started as a result of overpopulation since people in the country were carelessly cutting down trees. In his recent address to the nation on Malawi Broadcasting Station (MBC), Mutharika said people in the country should consider that Malawi’s future will massively change if deforestation continues.
The President said this in his statement themed “A Nation Resilient to Disasters” which discusses Malawi’s preparedness ahead of an impending warm phase termed as ‘El Nino’. According to the seasonal weather forecast by the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services, the current rainy season is likely to be characterized by a strong El Nino which may cause heavy rains in some parts of the country and may cause drought in other parts of the country, especially in the Shire Valley, particularly towards the end of the rainy season. He urges chiefs and traditional leaders to be in the forefront mobilizing their subjects for this necessary intervention.
He also pointed out that other precautionary measures include a procurement of an insurance policy which goes hand in hand with government’s efforts to relocate residents away from prone areas and plans to tamper with river beds and banks as a way of mitigating the effects of fast-flowing water. Government has procured a flood insurance policy from the African Risk Capacity Insurance Company Ltd.
According to Mutharika, climate change is a serious problem that has come to stay and will bring a lot of effects to the country as such proper action should be taken. The Malawi president said as one way of mitigating the effects of climate change, each individual has to be responsible by planting more trees and practicing afforestation. Malawi Government plans to relocate and resettle all people living in flood-prone areas as a lasting solution to loss of lives and livelihoods due to natural disasters.
As part of its long-term Disaster Risk Management and Resilience Program, government will soon commence work on certain rivers to control them from flooding. The work will involve excavation of sand from channels of some of the rivers, as a long term measure to control the flow of water from the rivers. The work will also involve construction of flood-mitigating infrastructure such as dikes, gabions, mattresses and sandbags and protecting vetiver banks through afforestation and planting of vetiver and elephant grass.
President Mutharika then urged communities to cooperate in excavating sand and debris from shallow rivers which usually flood during rainy season. He also called them upon to dig canals and clear debris even from drainages and canals.
The combined effect of the floods and erratic rains caused the current food shortage which has seriously affected as many as 2.8 million people. He assured Malawians that government is vigilant to ensure that they are taken care of in case of relocation, food and other important amenities during and after this rainy season.