By Memory Chatonda MANA

Blantyre district has closed 65 camps which kept internally displaced people (IDPs), in a decommissioning exercise currently underway.

The camps were commissioned last month following the devastating impact of Cyclone Freddy which claimed lives and destroyed houses, rendering over 30,000 people in Blantyre homeless.

Disaster Risk Management Officer for Blantyre District Council, Cosmas Mangoka said when the Tropical Cyclone Freddy (TCF) induced disaster occurred, the council commissioned 91 camps to accommodate the internally displaced people (IDPs).

“But from March 27, 2023, the council with support from its partners, embarked on the exercise of decommissioning the camps and as of April 21, 2023, we had closed 65 camps which kept the IDPs.

“These displaced people, some have been integrated into their communities while others, have been moved to major camps such as Soche Secondary School ground which currently accommodates 243 households (HHs), Bangwe Youth Centre which has 275 HHs, Lunzu Community Hall has 168 HHs, Malabada and and Chilingani camp have 273 and 228 HHs respectively,” he said.

He said it was important to undertake the exercise to allow the affected households to recover and return to normal life.

Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) Operations Manager responsible for emergency appeal, Blessings Mlowoka said the organisation continues to complement Blantyre District Council’s efforts to ensure that IDPs live a better life.

Mlowoka said since the onset of TCF induced disaster, MRCS has supported the district to mount family tents, conduct rapid assessments, selecting legitimate camp committees, providing take home packages to IDPs and also disinfecting and decommissioning of camps especially those that were in schools.

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