China equips Malawi disaster department

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The Chinese Embassy in Malawi on Wednesday donated two drones, worth US$10,000, to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma).

Malawi veep Chilima tests the drones. Malawi veep Chilima tests the drones.

Receiving the donation, at Capital Hill in Lilongwe, Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima said the drones would help Dodma improve on its operations during times of disasters.

“We appreciate the gesture the Chinese Embassy has shown to us as a department. We hope the drones will help us do rapid assessment and reach out to impassable areas by collecting video and still pictures using the drones,” he pointed out.

The Vice President who is also responsible Minister for Disaster Management Affairs in the country said the drones would help alleviate the problems the department was facing particularly in accessing hard to reach areas during emergencies.

He pointed out that last year, the department had to depend on partners to help them with drones in order to conduct assessment.

“The coming in of the two drones will empower us and the staff in capacity building in order to handle and operate the equipment efficiently for the benefit of the country,” the Vice President said.

He said the Department would need more drones to be strategically placed in all districts to enable them respond quickly when disasters strike.

Chilima thanked Chinese Embassy for being supportive to the country in times of disasters citing that last year they made a donation of 6,500 metric tonnes of rice to help victims of flooding.

Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, Shi Ting Wang hoped that the drones would be used for the intended purpose.

He described the drones as advanced with high tech and able to fly a few kilometres collecting video and still pictures which could be used for planning purposes.

Before presentation of the drones there was a demonstration and testing of the equipment to see how it could be used.

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