Humanitarian emergencies increase women, girls’ vulnerability


A Chipinge based youth-led organisation, Green Institute, has sensationally claimed that humanitarian emergencies such as tropical cyclones increase women and girls’ vulnerability.

Green Institute, which operates from Mount Selinda, is keen on developing adaptation strategies that can reduce and mitigate the diverse and complex impacts of climate change through areas which include engaging communities on climate resilience, lobbying, advocacy for policy change in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Green Institute works with marginalised groups in respect of people living with disability, women, youths and children.

Speaking to this publication yesterday (13 March 2023), the organisation’s co-director, Blessing Matasva was worried about the impact of natural disasters on women and girls.

“Humanitarian emergencies such as the recent Tropical Cyclone Freddy are known to increase significantly the vulnerability of women and girls. Displacements caused by such cyclones and the destruction of social service facilities create barriers in accessing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services, which are already limited in the affected areas.

“For sexual and reproductive health, people need access to accurate information and the contraception method of their choice. They must be informed and empowered to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections. When they decide to have children, women must have access to services that can help them to carry a fit pregnancy, have safe delivery and a healthy offspring.

“The timely provision of SRH services prevents disease, disabilities and saves lives. Access to SRH care is a human right and its provision in humanitarian response is now a global standard. During cyclones, a lot of women fail to access the much needed sexual and reproductive health services,” he said.

Chipinge and Chimanimani districts have been on the receiving end whenever tropical catastrophes hit Zimbabwe.

This year, the region was hit by Tropical Cyclone Freddy. The worst disaster that affected the region was Tropical Cyclone Idai which destroyed lives and livelihoods. It killed more than 250 people and left thousands others homeless and injured. Some people affected by Idai are still missing four year down the line.

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