NGO warns against sexual abuse of Cyclone Freddy survivors

Cyclone Freddy

Partners in Action for Sustainable Development (PASD) says sex with women or girls that survived to Tropical Cyclone Freddy in exchange for relief items is abuse at its best and amounts to crime.

PASD Executive Director, Amos Chiyenda, made the remarks at Kachulu along the Lake Chilwa in Zomba where the organisation held an interface meeting with survivors of Tropical Cyclone Freddy to hear their concerns during the disaster response period.

Chiyenda said PASD is implementing a project that seeks to hear and address sexual related problems which women and girls encountered when they wanted to register or receive relief items in Zomba and Phalombe districts.

Chiyenda added that under the project called Cure Gender Based Violence which is being funded by the UN Women, there was need to end all forms of sexual exploitation against women and children that survive natural disaster .

PASD Executive Director therefore called on the victims of sexual exploitation to report to community leaders and law enforcement agencies or they should dial on the following toll free lines; 116 and 5600 or 6600.

“We observe that women and girls are vulnerable to sexual related crimes by those that are charged with registering survivors or those that distribute relief items such that in some instances they touch women’s breasts and bottoms when the women while queueing on the line,” Chiyenda added.

He therefore cautioned those that indulge in such behavior saying this is demeaning and is an offence against laws of Malawi.

Secretary for Community Policing Forum, Rose Tabu, said that her committee recorded four cases of sexual related cases against women and girls that survived Tropical Cyclone Freddy.

Tabu added that Community Policing Forum has put in place measures that are meant to deal with sexual offences and all forms of gender based violence to protect women and children during beneficiary registration, relief items distribution and during their stay in camps.

Tabu also cautioned perpetuators of sexual related crimes that they will be arrested and prosecuted in the court of law.

She, however, bemoaned limited tools such as reflector jackets, whistles and baton sticks saying limited resources affect their provision of safety and security to women and girls in camps.

Village head Nyangu 1 hailed Cure Gender Based Violence project saying the intervention has helped to caution perpetuators who are mostly in charge of registration, relief items provision and those that manage camps for disaster survivors.