Original Research

Assessment of community-based flood early warning system in Malawi

Dickson D. Chinguwo, Dorothea Deus
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 14, No 1 | a1166 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v14i1.1166 | © 2022 Dickson D. Chinguwo, Dorothea Deus | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 May 2021 | Published: 31 March 2022

About the author(s)

Dickson D. Chinguwo, Department of Geospatial Sciences and Technology, The School of Earth Sciences, Real Estate Studies, Business and Informatics (SERBI), Ardhi University, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and, Department of Computing and Information Technology, Faculty of Applied Science, The Malawi Polytechnic, University of Malawi, Blantyre, Malawi
Dorothea Deus, Department of Geospatial Sciences and Technology, The School of Earth Sciences, Real Estate Studies, Business and Informatics (SERBI), Ardhi University, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, United Republic of


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

One of the major natural hazards the world is facing these days are floods. Malawi has not been spared. Floods have affected the countries’ socio-economic developmental plans. River gauges have been installed along major rivers to monitor water levels in a bid to warn communities of imminent flooding. In Malawi, ever since the installation of river gauges no study has been done to assess their effectiveness. This study examines the effectiveness of these river gauges as part of community-based early warning system. The research employs both qualitative and quantitative approach. Questionnaires, interviews, group discussions, document analysis were all used in order to understand the behavioural aspect of communities under study. The current community-based early warning system practices were benchmarked against the following elements: risk knowledge, technical monitoring and warning services, dissemination and communication of warnings and response capability. The study revealed that Malawi has two distinct systems in place: at national level (managed by several government departments) and at community level [managed by Civil Protection Committees (CPCs)]. These systems were installed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and faith-based organisations. Apparently, no direct link exists between the two. Operational bureaucracy affects the speedy presentation of warning messages at national level. Lack of capacity and necessities affects the operation of the community-based system. Despite the efforts to develop the early warning systems, the failures outweigh the successes. Government needs to provide enough funding for systems sustainability, build capacity of CPCs and install more technologically advanced systems.

Keywords

early warning system; community based early warning system; civil protection committee; river gauge; floods

Metrics

Total abstract views: 556
Total article views: 971


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.