Lilongwe, MALAWI—Almost half a million women and girls are in need of sexual and reproductive health services in Malawi, following the recent floods caused by tropical cyclone Idai, which have affected 14 out of the 28 districts.
Persistent heavy rains have affected close to one million people and left 56 people dead, following the onset of flooding early this year.
Cyclone Idai has also caused widespread flooding in Mozambique and Zimbabwe (view Sub-Regional Situation Report: Malawi - Mozambique - Zimbabwe: 14 March).
On 8 March, Malawi’s President, Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika, declared areas affected by the ongoing heavy rains and floods a state of disaster. He called for both local and international organizations to join the government in providing relief.
The joint UN assessment currently underway is expected to show the scale of damage and the requirements of the affected population. Reports indicate that health facilities and roads leading to them have been damaged, hampering access to services.
UNFPA responds to women and girls' sexual and reproductive health needs
In response, UNFPA Malawi has prepositioned reproductive health kits and other supplies to support the women and girls affected by the floods.
Under the guidance of the UN Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres, the UN mobilized quickly and is working with the Government of Malawi, through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), to support a rapid needs assessment and reach those most in need with life-saving rescue and relief assistance.
“We are saddened that thousands of people have been affected by the floods, and express our solidarity with the Government of Malawi and the victims of the floods,” said Ms. Torres. “The UN is working closely with DoDMA, non-governmental organizations and development partners to support an efficient and effective humanitarian response.”
With Idai re-approaching Malawi at the end of last week, further heavy rains and strong winds were expected, raising the likelihood of additional flooding. According to the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services, Idai was expected to bring heavy rainfall and strong winds, which could affect the southern parts of Malawi and increase the scale of the floods.
- Henry Chimbali