Nsanje — Action Aid Malawi has expressed the need for well-wishers to ensure the security and well-being of women, children and girls is guaranteed as they provide basic amenities to communities affected by the recent floods that wreaked havoc in the country.
Nsanje District Action Aid Malawi Programmes Coordinator, Mclean Chimpeni made the remarks on Saturday during the distribution of K10 million worth of food and non-food items to evacuation camps in the district.
Chimpeni said it was critical that the needs and unique challenges of the vulnerable groups such as adolescent girls, women and children were addressed in humanitarian response.
He said different groups in the society are likely to have specific needs, hence the support could not be the same.
The programmes coordinator said community disaster management creates a list of possible services and items that can be offered to women and children in emergencies to protect their health and various rights in such circumstances.
"When disasters strike, they affect or rather impact on groups of people differently - women and girls may need certain basic necessities because they may not find coping mechanisms as compared to men.
"As such, we would like the most vulnerable groups to have a dignified life in difficult situations,"
Chimpeni said. Secondly, we would like to make a difference by providing the most needed items for the displaced households which is often forgotten during humanitarian response.
"Such items include sanitary pads for adolescent girls to promote school attendance when the girls are going through menstruation," he added.
On this note, Chimpeni advised the affected households to start thinking of life after the camps and plan on how they would adapt to the new environment when they are back to their respective places or areas they came from.
"It is a fact that these people will not stay in camps forever; they need to start thinking about going out of the camp and what they will do thereafter. Stakeholders working in the disaster risk reduction field should also devise ways through which people in the camps are going to recover from the shock and live a normal life again," Chimpeni said.
One of the camp management committee members at Phokera, Alfred Khembo commended Action Aid for the support towards people in camps. However, he asked other stakeholders to emulate the example set by Action Aid, saying people in the camps were facing numerous challenges.
Khembo said Action Aid has been unique in its approach by targeting the most vulnerable groups of women, adolescent girls and children.
Some of the relief items that Action Aid distributed included mats, buckets, soap and mosquito nets.