NGO appeals for ‘relevant aid’ for cyclone flood victims

Center for Development Communication (CDC) has called for human rights based approach in the provision of aid to Cyclone Idai flood survivors.

Heavy rains and flooding in early March 2019 displaced hundreds of thousands, many to temporary camps.

CDC’s Head of Programmes Charles Simbi expressed concern that sometimes duty bearers and donors provide aid which is irrelevant to the needs of the affected people.

“What is happening usually is that donors and duty bearers just decide what to give to the communities. Some of the things may not be relevant to the communities,” Simbi said.

“Some donors have provided salt when there is no food in which the salt can be applied.”

He said human rights of flood survivors should be taken into account before delivery of relief.

“Some of these needs border on human rights so rights have to be respected and people do not have to beg for their rights because they are entitled to them,” he added.

Simbi made the call in Blantyre on Thursday during a media briefing workshop on a the UNICEF-funded Communication for Development (C4D) Emergency Response project which the organization is implementing with internally displaced people in Nsanje, Chikwawa, Mulanje, Phalombe, Zomba and Machinga Districts.

Simbi said the project is aimed at empowering flood survivors to participate in the governance of the disaster response.

“We want the communities to have a role in the procurement as well as distribution of supplies that are given to them,” he said.

Simbi said the communities air their views and express their needs through Radio Listening Clubs (RLCs).

“We take these needs to relevant authorities so that they can hear for themselves and respond and then the communities are empowered to follow up on the promises of the duty bearers,” he said.

In her remarks, one of the flood survivors, Mary George from Chikuse camp in Chikwawa District appealed to the government to provide them with suitable pieces of land for relocation.

“We want to move to high places to live there but we want to continue cultivating on our pieces of land for our survival because they are very fertile,” she said.

Cyclone Idai destroyed infrastructure, houses, and crop land affecting over 800,000 people in Malawi and about 60 deaths were reported.

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