Children attend a handover ceremony of disaster risk reduction projects in Kombeza area, a disaster-prone area in central Malawi's Salima district, March 16, 2018. China on Friday handed over projects to disaster-prone regions of Malawi to help them build resilience and reduce effects of the disasters. (Xinhua/Peng Lijun)
SALIMA, Malawi, March 16 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday handed over projects to disaster-prone regions of Malawi to help them build resilience and reduce effects of the disasters.
The handover ceremony held in Kombeza area, a disaster-prone area in central Malawi's Salima district, about 93 kilometers from the capital Lilongwe, was attended by Clement Chintu Phiri, Secretary to the Vice-President and Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, Chinese Ambassador to Malawi Wang Shiting as well as United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Coordinator Maria Jose Torres.
Launched in June 2016, the Disaster Risk Reduction Small Grants Scheme was supporting poor and vulnerable communities in 15 identified disaster prone districts and was a trilateral pilot project being undertaken by the Malawian government, with the technical and financial support of the Chinese government and the UNDP.
Among the projects are four evacuation centers, a dyke and two check dams meant to hold water.
In his remarks, the Malawian government official thanked China and the UNDP for the project, saying they will go a long way in building resilience in communities against disasters.
He said tackling disasters was expensive and unsustainable without the support of the cooperating partners.
He especially singled out the construction of evacuation centers as it will stop the tendency of taking people to facilities such as schools when there was no a disaster and that the facilities will also be used for other issues in the communities.
He commended the support the Malawian government has continued to receive from China, saying this has contributed to the uplifting of people's living standards.
On his part, the Chinese envoy thanked all the partners in the project and promised to continue working with authorities in coming up with projects to benefit the local people.
He said China's collaboration with the UNDP in the project has been a successful, adding that the disaster risk reduction project will help the communities build resilience and reduce effects of disasters.
China, he said, has always been ready to support Malawi in times of disasters and that the Chinese government provided 600,000 U.S. dollars after the disaster caused by climate change in 2015 as well as 10,000 tons of rice to tackle hunger caused by food shortages.
He further said Chinese enterprises have also been supporting the government in times of disasters.
The UNDP representative said the project was due to partnership of the governments of China and Malawi as well as the communities and that as a pilot project, other countries will also be looking at the success of the project to replicate it.
She said many parts of Malawi were prone to disasters which affected between 300 to 500 people each year and that the project will support about 23,000 people.