The Department of Disaster Management Affairs was established through the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act of 1991. It is the Government of Malawi’s agency responsible for coordinating and directing the implementation of disaster risk management programmes in the country in order to improve and safeguard the quality of life of Malawians, especially those vulnerable to and affected by disasters.
To coordinate and direct the implementation of disaster risk management programmes in Malawi.
To become a highly reliable, efficient, effective and proactive DRM coordinating institution that, in turn, is socially, politically and economically vibrant and sustainable
To effectively coordinate the implementation of disaster risk management programmes through overseeing disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery activities.
The National Disaster Risk Management Policy
has been developed to guide the implementation of disaster risk management programmes in Malawi by outlining policy strategies aimed at achieving the long term goal of reducing disaster losses in lives and in the social, economic and environmental assets of communities and the nation. The policy has six priority areas, namely, Mainstreaming disaster risk management into sustainable development; Establishment of a comprehensive system for disaster risk identification, assessment and monitoring; Development and strengthening of a people-centred early warning system; Promotion of a culture of safety, and adoption of resilience-enhancing interventions; Reduction of underlying risks; and Strengthening preparedness capacity for effective response and recovery. The Policy was approved on 5th February, 2015.
The The Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act of 1991
The Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act of 1991 provides the legal and institutional framework for disaster risk management in the country. Among others, the Act provides for the establishment of institutional structures for disaster risk management at all levels in the country and arrangements for declaration of state of disaster. However, the Act primarily focuses on disaster response and does not include risk reduction elements. Government is, therefore, in the process of reviewing the Act and at present a draft Disaster Risk Management Bill has been developed that provides a more comprehensive legislative framework for disaster risk management (DRM) in the country.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework
In 2010, government developed a National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework to pursue a proactive and integrated way of reducing risks to hazards through sustainable, innovative and realistic strategies with strong partnership of all stakeholders. The framework identified challenges in implementing disaster risk reduction programmes in the country and provided strategic direction to reduce vulnerabilities and risks to hazards. The framework provided the basis for the development of the National Disaster Risk Management Policy.
Contingency plans are disaster preparedness tools developed to ensure that response to and recovery from disasters is effective. Malawi has a national contingency plan that is reviewed every year. There are also district contingency plans in a number of districts. The contingency plans
are multi-hazard and the development and/or review process is multi-sectoral. Each sector prioritizes preparedness, response and recovery interventions to be implemented during a particular year basing on specific hazard scenarios and planning assumptions. that is reviewed every year. There are also district contingency plans in a number of districts.
The National Disaster Risk Management Communication Strategy has been developed to ensure that those exposed to hazards, and those involved in the implementation of DRM programmes and activities are informed about the risks and are aware of the measures to prevent, mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from these hazards.