Stories of people' property washed away by floods are not new in Malawi. At the beginning of each rainy season, climate and environmental experts tell us a number of predictions about the weather especially in relation to rainfall's changing patterns.
For example, before the rains started in November 2011 the experts said this growing season the country will have plenty of rains but when drought hit us below the belt in many parts of the country the predictions were that Malawi would not have enough rainfall.
Now that the rains are back destroying people's property in some parts of the country we are told to move to higher grounds because the country will be experiencing heavy rainfall.
Questions are being raised to the effectiveness of the information that the experts give us. A colleague even joked that all these misleading pieces of information are happening because the experts are using very archaic instruments to detect weather patterns.
"If we are failing to buy fuel due to forex shortage, can we afford to have the state-of-the-art weather equipment that will provide us with the latest information on the changing weather patterns?" joked this friend of mine.
Some people are quoting a verse in the Bible which says that Gods' people are dying because of their lack of knowledge or lack of information.
Malawians are dying because of lack of information from the climate experts who are supposed to be telling us to move to higher grounds when there is a lot of rainfall.
Someone would argue to say that floods and droughts are natural disasters and difficult to predict. If that is the case why do we have such offices that are telling us about weather? Why should we pay them for not giving us the right information about the impending hunger, floods and other natural disasters?
The other argument other people would make is that those people who are living in areas such as Lower Shire deserve the wrath because they refuse to move to higher grounds when it is raining. Yes, they refuse but I feel that they do not have the right information to convince them to move.
In developed countries with better equipment any looming danger is told to the locals and when disaster strikes the damage is limited. People get evacuated in time and some property gets saved.
If we generalise information to say in Malawi we will have floods and people should move to higher areas they will not because the information is too general. Why don't we tell those people in Kasungu in advance that this district will experience floods and people should be alert?
Malawians do not have information on climate change and how it affects them. They know that rainfall pattern has changed because in the 60s and 70s they had rainfall in October but this time around when it rains during that month nobody get bothered to grow until December or January depending on the district one is in.
For them the reason such things are happening is not known. They do not know the link or the cause of climate change.
The problem we have in Malawi is how to disseminate the right information to the public. Even stories that are written on climate change or information from experts on issues to do with weather or climate change is not written in such a manner that my mother in the village understands them mainly because even those with such information do not understand it in the first place.
In short, as a country we are failing to package the information to enable farmers and others to understand it.
There are a lot of lessons we need to learn from the current floods. We have failed as a nation to give our people the right information to enable them escape danger.
We talk of adaptation but how and why should we? Let those charged with such responsibility do the right thing at the right time. Moving from one workshop to another without doing the right thing is a waste of time and money. It is time to act and act now!