AFRICA/MALAWI - Human rights and basic needs: it is an emergency for the most destitute populations hit by tropical storms

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Lilongwe (Agenzia Fides) - "We are deeply concerned about the people of the southern and central districts devastated by the recent tropical storm Ana", said the President of the Bishops' Conference of Malawi (ECM), Mgr. Thomas Msusa, in a statement on behalf of the Bishops of the country.
"The poor are hit the hardest... Many people have been left homeless and have lost livestock, property and farms," the prelate points out. Archbishop Msusa thanked the President of the Republic of Malawi, Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, for his quick declaration of the national emergency situation, which he hopes will encourage donor countries to provide assistance. "The cyclone wreaked havoc and increased the plight of so many people. The testimonies of those affected in the two camps we visited are very shocking", said Fr. Ted Chigamba, Head of the Social Management of ECM. "We urgently need to address people's immediate needs of food, water, clothing and hygiene items", the report says. "At the same time, we must continue to address long-term problems in the areas of education and social welfare", Father Chigamba said . Meanwhile, the coordinator of the Bishops' Justice and Peace Commission, Boniface Chibwana, appealed that human rights issues should also receive immediate attention.
"Human rights violations are commonplace in a disaster of this magnitude", he affirms. "In the camps we visit, for example, there are girls who are currently not attending classes and who are being denied basic rights. Our concern is that some people want to take advantage of their situation".
According to initial reports, the tropical storm hit 20 out of 28 districts, causing massive damage to more than 870,000 people and displacing about 100,000 people. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 8/2/2022)