MPs to Discuss Disaster Management Bill

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Titus Mvalo has said the Disaster Risk Management Bill of 2023 is ready for tabling in Parliament next week before the house rises sine die.

Mvalo told us the proposed law was submitted to parliament Wednesday, and has since been circulated to legislators for them to have a look at it before it is brought for deliberations.

He is optimistic the bill will be tabled in parliament on Thursday or Friday.

The minister said the bill, if passed to law, will provide for preparation and prevention of disaster, unlike the existing law which only focuses on activities to be undertaken after a disaster has occurred.

Said Mvalo: “Some of the provisions in the area that are addressing the issue of preparation for disasters include matters like giving powers to authorities to move people from risky areas to safer places.”

People have obtained court injunctions against authorities blocking the action to move them away from disaster prone areas.

The bill also proposes the creation of a Disaster Risk Management Fund which will ensure funds are readily available for use in case of disasters.

Chairperson for the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources and Climate Change Werani Chilenga is excited with the development.

However, he says there is a need to amend some clauses in the bill before it is tabled in the house.

“I have looked at the bill, it has some gaps which need to be addressed, we want to lobby with the minister before it is presented so that we can make the changes.

“Some clauses need to be deleted completely because of the anomalies,” said Chilenga.

The long-awaited disaster risk management bill seeks to repeal the archaic Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act which is failing to match contemporary events.

Recent disasters induced by Tropical Cyclone Freddy have been blamed on poor disaster management laws.

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