In the year 2015 flooding devastated parts of Malawi leaving hundreds and thousands in need of aid.
Now two years down the line the unhealed wounds continue to haunt the government as they are spending millions of dollars to assist those that were affected.
Presently the Malawi government is spending $12.5 million or 1 percent of the GDP and $9 million or 0.7 percent of the GDP annually to address droughts and floods impacts respectively.
This is roughly over 65 billion when converted to the local currency, the Malawi Kwacha.
Director of Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Tawonga Mbale Luka narrated that it is sad to note that Malawi, a country that contributes very little to greenhouse gases worldwide is facing this tragedy.
“As a country our priority is adaptation. We have done very little in terms of contributing to emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global warming and consequently climate change,” indicated Mbale.
She further mentioned that adapting to the effects of climate change; Malawi is trying to build resilience by implementing a number of projects including the Climate Proofing Local Development Gains with support from Global Environmental Facility and UNDP.
The project aims at supporting communities in Mangochi and Machinga to adapt to impacts of climate change.
With the need for more finances, the government is being implored to seek more innovative ways of climate change financing where more people are in dire need of assistance.
Department of Environmental Affairs officials had in the same effect indicated that despite local resources available, they are also tapping financial support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to implement a project to do with early warning signs on climate change.
However, a climate negotiator in Ethiopia’s ministry of environment, forestry and climate change, Binyam Yakob, believes building proper planning before the floods and droughts strike is the best method for resilience.
The government as well has been pointed out as the most immediate provider of funds through the national budget.
Ethiopia is one of the countries in Africa that also faced the severe impacts of El Nino where a drought affected over 20 percent of the population calling for financial assistance amounting to $1.2 Billion.
According to Yakob, the country is presently working on mobilising locals to plant more trees and switch to other convenient ways of using their resources in avoiding further damage to the environment.
National Director for the Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC) Julius Ng’oma however laments that Malawi is not on the right track in addressing climate change impacts.
Ng’oma indicates that the government has for the past years been focusing a lot on providing relief after the floods and droughts.
“I think what we need are better mechanisms that can help people be prepared for floods and droughts before they come,” Ng’oma indicated.
It is in the civil society’s view as well that Malawi takes advantage of international climate change funding agencies available to contain the situation.
Malawi, a country with an agro based economy located in the southern part of Africa, was affected by the El Nino weather phenomenon that led to flooding and drought in 2015.
This was one of the worst natural disasters in Malawi’s history as 100 deaths were recorded and over 336,000 people were displaced as their livestock, infrastructure and farmlands were washed away by water in over half of the country.