Japan has given Malawi a K1.99 billion (about $1.2 million) grant through the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) to support the country’s recovery efforts from the impact of Tropical Cyclone Freddy.
The package is expected to help improve access to essential water, sanitation and hygiene (Wash) as well as health services in Mulanje and Phalombe districts which were heavily impacted by the cyclone.
Oya (L) with Minister of Agriculture Sam
Kawale in this file photo
In a joint statement, Unicef, the Japanese Emb a s s y a n d t h e Government of Malawi said the grant also seeks to build resilience by equipping vulnerable communities in the two districts with the capacity and knowledge to respond effectively to future disasters and climate-related shocks.
The grant will enable Unicef and its partners reach out to about 75 000 people with innovative Wash and health interventions such as the installation of climate-resilient water systems, strengthening of early warning systems, drone delivery of medical supplies, and enhanced mobile clinic services in the two districts from January 2024 to January 2025.
Minister of Water and Sanitation Abida Sidik Mia welcomed the support, saying Malawi was making all the necessary efforts in attaining universal access to water by 2030.
She said: “This calls for mobilisation of both local and foreign resources from development partners such as Japan. These resources are targeting new Wash infrastructure but also rehabilitation of malfunctioning Wash systems in the country.”
Japanese Ambassador Yoichi Oya said Malawi was still in its recovery phase from the damages caused by Tropical Cyclone Freddy.
He said: “Japan is pleased to partner with Unicef to support Malawi’s recovery to foster resilience in some critical areas such as Wash and health.
“Promoting universal health coverage , strengthening disease prevention measures, and enhancing disaster preparedness and response are interlinked goals that help to save lives, improve people’s well-being and build the resilience of communities.”
Oya said achieving these complementary goals requires significant investment in water supply and sanitation, health systems and measures to prevent and respond to disasters.
Unicef Malawi’s recent emergency situation report highlights that the Wash sector has a 72 percent funding gap, while the health sector is underfunded by 74 percent.
Unicef representative Shadrack Omol said the contribution of the Government of Japan is timely to help sustain the provision of critical Wash and health services in vulnerable communities.
Phalombe and Mulanje were among the most affected districts after Tropical Cyclone Freddy hit the country in March 2023.
The disaster affected at least 2.3 million people, displaced 660 000 and killed 1 000 in the Southern Region.