1 Alinafe Everson, 38, woke up to the sound of rushing water in the early hours of January 24, 2022.
2 Within seconds, water flooded her home, which she shares with her husband and four children.
3 The family managed to run to higher ground and found shelter in a crowded school building.
4 Conditions were difficult for the family, with little food, poor sanitation and an increase in COVID-19 cases in the camp.
5 The strong winds and heavy rains caused by Tropical Storm Ana have disrupted the lives of thousands of women and their families.
6 More than 190,000 people have been displaced and forced to settle in makeshift camps.
7 Homes were destroyed and food and goods, including clothing and farmland, were washed away.
8 Health products and health supplies are in short supply and social support programmes, including social cash transfers, have been disrupted.
9 Women and girls are the most vulnerable and at greatest risk of violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse, due to limited access to basic needs (food, shelter, clothing and water).
11 Access roads to reach people were challenging as a result of the flooding.
12 Despite this, UN Women was able to reach vulnerable women, such as lactating mothers, pregnant women, older women, women with disabilities and young women, reaching some 10,000 household members with buckets, loincloths (chitenges) and soap.
13 Everson received non-food items such as a bucket, soap and a wrapper from UN Women.
14 “These items are timely and vital, especially since the greatest need in the town right now is clean drinking water and good sanitation,” she said.
15 Crises impact women, girls, boys and men of all ages differently.
16 As a result, their needs and interests differ, as do their resources, abilities, and coping strategies.
18 By understanding the different needs of women and girls, in addition to the distribution of non-food items, UN Women Malawi ensured that gender-based violence prevention messages were delivered to affected communities in Chikwawa.
19 Men in the camps were urged not to engage in gender-based violence, including sexual exploitation and abuse, which is often triggered during emergencies.
20 Communities were also encouraged to report cases of gender-based violence and informed of available helplines and other services.