Malawi Police moves in to deter GBV in flood victims’ evacuation camps

Flood displaced people in Mulanje

By Natasha Muthete, MANA

Malawi Police Service (MPS) have underscored the need for concerted efforts in dealing with gender-based violence (GBV) in the country’s evacuation camps.


Assistant Commisioner of Police, Francis Chisaka — who is deputy director of community policing services and rural police units visited flood survivors at Mitawa Primary School camp in Muloza-Mulanje where he emphasized that any form of abuse to flood survivors is a serious offence as it adds salt to injury to the already suffering people.

Chisaka warned that police would arrest anyone taking advantage of the situation to abuse people, especially women and girls in evacuation camps.

“Let us put in place strong structures to be looking at these issues and report to appropriate authorities,” he said. “Sexually abusing women and girls or stealing their little items in camps should not happen as this injures them further.”

During the visit, Chisaka also handed over reflective jackets to community policing members and a suggestion box for the people to register their concerns that include GBV issues at the camp.


Receiving the items on behalf of community policing members, Village Head Namasalima commended police for the gesture, saying people at that camp and other evacuation centre were suffering and therefore needed support in any form.

She the effects of the two Cyclones has left many people without food, clothes and other necessities, and that children are also unable to go to school. 

One of the disaster survivors, Annie Paul from Namasalima Village, concurred with the village head, saying life was tough at the camp and that support was needed.

“I lost many items, including food, clothes as well as my house. While I thank those who have been helping us, more support is still needed,” she said.

Relief food

Meanwhile, it was reported last week that some beneficiaries of relief items within the evacuation camps in Chikwawa were secretly selling the donated items, which Group Village Head Katemalinga in Traditional Authority Maseya strongly condemned.

Maseya told Malawi News Agency (MANA) that instant responses to the disasters’ survivors is a very welcome gesture, but abusing the items is cause for worry, even though the justification is that the victims are lacking other equally important basic needs.

Thus the Village Head said they welcome assistance from well-wishers in their quest to alleviate immediate needs of the communities through food and non-food items but the people “also need hard cash to cater for other basic needs”.


Katemalinga also observed that when one problem is sorted out, another one is created, saying not all donors can cushion for all food and non-food emergency relief commodities at once.

He added that it is not surprising that the flood survivors secretly sell their relief items for fear of reprisals.

“As much as hard cash remains imperative for every individual, I urge let the donors civic educate the beneficiaries prior to the actual distribution exercise to deter this abuse,” Katemalinga said.

Chikwawa District projects coordinator for World Vision Malawi, Mark Allan told MANA that this is indeed a wake-up call and that the office will intensify awareness throughout the district.


However, he bemoaned the selling of the relief items by some of the beneficiaries, urging them stop forthwith, even if it may be done to alleviate themselves against other needs.

Meanwhile, Malawi Red Cross Society is on a country-wide exercise of distributing cash to flood survivors and last week they were in Salima District where a total of K52 million were expected to be disbursed with relief cash.

Speaking to MANA, the Society’s director of finance, Chifundo Kalulu said they will reach out to over 800 beneficiaries in four traditional authorities of Kambwiri, Pemba, Maganga and Kuluunda.

He said those whose houses got damaged will receive K50,000 for house renovations while others will be getting K39,000 for basic needs.Additional reporting by Grace Kapatuka, MANA

A beneficiary receiving her cash from an Airtel Money agent