The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA) in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) will embark on scaling up the use of modernised climate information and early warning systems (M-CLIMES) Project aimed at reducing vulnerability of communities to climate change.

Briefing the District Executive members (DEC) in Mchinji on Friday, Project coordinator of M-CLIMES DODMA, Rabi Narayan Gaudo, said the six year project (2017-2023) will target two million beneficiaries including farmers, fishermen and flood-prone communities.

“The Information Systems Programme will help reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts on lives and livelihoods, particularly of women, from extreme weather events and climate change, and strengthen community capacities in preparedness for response to climate related disasters,” he said.

Gaudo said through the project, automated weather stations will be installed in 19 districts, automated rain gauges will be installed for enhanced community early warnings, and all 21 districts will benefit from improved accurate and reliable climate weather forecasts for agriculture.

He said the predicted increases in temperature, rainfall variability and forecasting will allow Malawi to effectively adapt to impacts of climate variability and change.

DODMA Risk Management Officer, Ockens Chipeta, said the project will work with Department of Meteorological Services (DCCMS), Department of Water Resources, Department of Agriculture Extension Services (DAES) and Department of Fisheries and NASFAM.

In Mchinji District, the project will have key activities which include two automated weather stations, three hydrological sensors, operations decision support system (ODSSW), expansion for flood forecast, and water catchment and tailored products for farmers.

The project will also have weather monitoring network which will provide information on severe thunderstorms and rainfall for flood forecasting as well as warning of lightning strikes, leading to more accurate and timely warning for high intensity rains.

Acting Director of Planning and Development for Mchinji, Ralph Munthali, hailed the project, saying it will help reduce the impact of harsh weather conditions as communities will be able to plan before disasters.

He, however, asked for intense capacity building for communities for the smooth running of the project.

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