Malawi

Safer house reconstruction guidelines launched in Malawi

Karonga, Malawi, 2 Sept 10

When a series of earthquakes hit Karonga District in December 2009 leaving in its wake four deaths, damage to schools and over 10,000 houses affecting 24,000 people, the post relief challenge was how to support the communities to recover and with specific regard to shelter, how to ensure that households and communities are able to build back better and safer.

It thus came to pass that Thursday 2nd Septmber 2010 saw the launch of a unique partnership involving Government, the Malawi Red Cross Society, the UN, donors, private sector and the community to deliver a shelter recovery programme for the people of Karonga following the 2009 earthquakes.

The programme has involved UN-HABITAT and Malawi Red Cross Society working with Government and others to formulate the Guidelines for Safer House Construction which is being used in the shelter reconstruction programme. The World Bank is supporting training and dissemination of the safer house construction guidelines which are being published in Chichewa, Tumbuka and English.

The UK Department for International Development DfID has provided funding to the Malawi Red Cross Society to construct or rehabilitate 500 houses for the most vulnerable households whose houses collapsed or were damaged by the earthquake. The mobile phone provider Zain Malawi through its ZAP Khusa Mmanja facility will transfer money from the Malawi Red Cross Society to the beneficiaries through the handsets that Zain Malawi has provided to the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries will use the funds transferred to them through their phones to purchase building materials from the shops in Karonga.

The official launch of the Guidelines for Safer House Construction and Housing Programme was performed by the Deputy Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Billy Kaunda at a function attended by among others local politicians, traditional leaders, Government officials and representatives from Malawi Red Cross Society, Zain Malawi, UN-HABITAT and DfID.