Flood victims in Malawi

Malawi Flood Victims Request Condoms As Emergency Aid

Flood victims in the northern area of Malawi have made an unusual request in the way of refugee aid, asking for condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the refugee camps.

Most people affected by a natural disaster request things like food, water, or blankets as aid while they shelter in a refuge. However, flood victims in the Mzimba district of Malawi have asked for something a little more unusual: condoms, lots of condoms.

The Mzimba district is located 272 km from Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, and has been suffering the effects of flash floods from the North Rukuru River after persistently heavy rainfall on February 8 this year. The worst-affected region is reportedly in areas led by Chief Kyungu in the Karonga District.

According to a report in Malawi24, currently, the victims of the flooding are camping in various safer places in the northern region district and are desperately in need of supplies.

Authorities in Malawi are already involved in organizing the provision of perfectly normal relief items, including food, chlorine, water guard, and other related household items for the flood victims. On top of this, plans are underfoot to rehabilitate dykes in the area and conserve the catchment area by planting more trees along the river banks to avoid similar flooding of this nature in the future.

However, the flood victims themselves are asking for a different kind of relief. Reportedly, they say they need condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS while staying in the temporary refuge from the flooding. According to the victims, they are expecting a lot of sexual activity in the camps where they are currently living.

The Area and Civil Protection Committees in that area of Malawi have estimated that 900 households – representing around 4,500 people – have been affected by the flash flooding, of which 36 homes have completely collapsed from the pressure of the water. That reportedly works out to a whole lot of condoms.

Capital Radio Malawi quotes part of the report on the flooding in the area as stating that among the flood victims, the number of families camping at the Chisewu full primary school has risen from 58 to 264, while around 154 are camping at the Zindi African Church and Church of Central Africa Presbyterian.

Besides affecting local people and their homes, according to the report, the flash flooding has “enormously affected the crops along Rukuru River, such that 48 hectares of maize, banana, rice and cassava have been established to have been affected.”

Authorities in Malawi are pushing ahead with the rehabilitation of the area and flood prevention, as reportedly the area is hit every year by floods. Hopefully, they are also stocking up on plenty of condoms for future flood victims.

In other condom-related news, Malawi might need to look into the techniques of some Australian researchers who, according to a report by the Inquisitr, are experimenting with using a native grass to extract nanocellulose to make ultra-thin condoms, which are reportedly stronger than latex condoms. The researchers are reportedly working with native tribes in Australia who use the native spinifex grass for other traditional purposes.

And then there’s the strange condom-related story last year of a Milwaukee museum who planned to exhibit a portrait of Pope Benedict XVI made entirely from condoms. Reportedly, the portrait was made using around 17,000 multi-colored condoms and has been titled “Eggs Benedict.”

[Photo via Flickr by Paul Keller/CC BY 2.0]