Donation K50 million to cater for Cyclone Freddy relief

Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) has, through the government, donated K50 million to cater for Cyclone Freddy relief, as part of the power utility company’s corporate social responsibility.

ESCOM presented the donation through Minister of Energy, Ibrahim Matola, to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) at its Limbe Emergency Planning Centre on Thursday March 30 2023.

In his speech, Matola said Escom’s donation complements President Dr Lazarus Chakwera’s Tigwirane Manja initiative meant to mobilise resources from the public and private sectors for the cyclone survivors.

“Malawi has experienced cyclones before but the impact of Cyclone Freddy has been unprecedented. It is pleasing to note that though hard hit, Escom felt duty-bound to be part of the restoration, as a good corporate citizen,” said Matola, who was accompanied by Energy Ministry Principal Secretary, Eng. Alfonso Chikuni. Escom Chief Executive Officer, Mr Kamkwamba Kumwenda, said they felt obliged to assist the needy affected by the cyclone, even though the natural occurrence also hit the power utility company badly.

“Restoration woks started immediately after the cyclone eased down, but not at the pace we want. Unfortunately, some people have taken advantage of the vulnerability of the infrastructure to vandalise it,” Kumwenda said. 

“Therefore, our restoration efforts will a bit delayed because some parts of our infrastructure is not there. We are geared to conclude the restoration works in the shortest possible time except in the areas where our assets have been vandalized.”

He said Escom is concerned with reports that some people are diverting relief items, hence the State-owned power utility company opted to channel the donation through DoDMA. In his closing remarks, DoDMA Director of Disaster Preparedness and Response, Reverend Moses Chimphepo, described Cyclone Freddy as the worst in the country’s history in terms of damage to property, injuries and deaths.

Chimphepo said the cyclone had cost 676 lives, 2071 are injured, 537 are missing with survivors now occupying 747 camps in the affected districts of Nsanje, Chikwawa, Phalombe, Zomba, Mulanje and Blantyre. 

“Let me assure ESCOM that the K50 million will go straight to the procurement of relief items and ESCOM will be involved to ensure that there is no diversion of funds. We will do a report to account for the money stating where and how it has been used and for how many beneficiaries”, he said.

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