MRCS introduces automated community early warning reporting system

NSANJE: The Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) has introduced the first ever automated community early warning reporting system to help in timely response and action in areas prone to water flooding.

Nsanje MRCS District Project Officer, Patricia Gadi said on Thursday that the society with funding from the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and technical support from the Red Cross Societies, initiated the platform to ensure that community’s vulnerability to floods is reduced especially in areas where floods occur frequently.

Gadi said apart from Nsanje, some districts like Zomba and Chikwawa would also benefit from the platform with the installation of gauges in the rivers whose banks usually burst to cause havoc to communities during rainy seasons.

In fact, earlier we trained early warning response teams who will be responsible in monitoring the rivers using the river gauges installed along the rivers which make the communities vulnerable when water flooding occurs. These committees are also mandated to report manually their observation and send it to the relevant authorities for possible action, Gadi said.

Gadi added that MRCS decided to have an automated early warning mechanism which can easily contribute to timely data reporting and feedback for rapid response or action by all stakeholders including the communities who are at risk of the disasters.

The purpose of this protocol is to enhance coordination among community based early warning system teams, civil protection committees and early warning systems (EWS) stakeholders such as Department of Meteorological Services and DoDMA, Gadi said.

Nsanje Assistant District Disaster Risk Reduction Officer, Humphrey Magalasi commended MRCS for the initiative, saying it would bring change and save lives in disaster prone areas of the district.

The intervention has been introduced at the right time. The community will be able to report based on what is on the ground and get feedback immediately and make a timely response. This will reduce the impacts due to the delay in responding to the early warning signs, said Magalasi.

The overall objective of the EWS project is to strengthen the capacity of Malawian authorities and local communities to cope with hydro-metrological risks by improving resilience in the targeted districts of Zomba, Chikwawa and Nsanje.

EWS is a set of capacities needed to generate and disseminate timely and meaningful warning information to enable individuals, communities and organizations potentially threatened by hazards to prepare and act appropriately to reduce the possibility of harm or loss of life and reduce the economic and material impact of disasters.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA