Written by Chinsinsi Cheketa and Melie Chipula Bayani
President Dr Lazarus Chakwera has described the deaths of 225 people induced by Tropical Cyclone Freddy in Southern Malawi as a national tragedy, and revealed he will call for an impromptu cabinet meeting on the same.
Dr Chakwera was speaking Wednesday during a funeral ceremony at Naotcha camp located at Naotcha Primary School in Blantyre, where over 3 thousand victims of Cyclone Freddy are seeking shelter.
During the funeral ceremony of 28 among 158 people who have died in Blantyre alone, Dr Chakwera consoled bereaved families including the Likoma family, which has lost seven members in the disaster.
While applauding government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the private sector and well-wishers, for collaboratively working in supporting the affected families, the Malawi leader assured the victims of adequate and equal support.
“I would like to assure you all that the government through the Department of Disaster Risk Management Affairs (DoDMA) will ensure that everyone has received an equal allocation of relief items”, said Chakwera.
“The government is also in talks with different countries including Zambia, to offer support such as helicopters that will be used in rescuing people trapped during the disaster as most roads are impassable”, added Chakwera.
Minister of Defense Harry Mkandawire said, the government has since been assured by the Ministry of Defense from the Zambian Government that it will offer the entreated helicopters, as those that Malawi have cannot function properly due to poor weather conditions.
“The government of Zambia has assured us that after all agreements have been signed, the helicopters will be sent to help in the evacuation process of some of the victims trapped during the disaster especially in Blantyre and Chiladzulu”, said Mkandawire.
Government has since allocated K1.6 billion to help address the effects of Cyclone Freddy.
On the same Wednesday, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader who is also the country’s former Professor Peter Muthalika also visited Matope Primary School in Ndilande township and Smaritan Trust in Green Corner, where he cheered and offered support to some affected families who have sought refuge in camps set at the schools.
Muthalika assured the victims that his party will mobilize resources to help them, apart from the support some DPP members have already offered.
“DPP members will continue mobilizing resources to help caution the suffering of our fellow Malawians in Southern Malawi who have been affected by Cyclone Freddy, and we will ensure that they have received the much-needed support”, said Muthalika.
According to the Department of Disaster Risk Management Affairs (DODMA), as of Wednesday this week, 225 people had died, 41 missing, 707 injured while 88, 312 displaced.