The Southern Region Police says it is stepping up efforts to act accordingly in protecting children during natural disasters and other emergencies.
Senior deputy commissioner of police for the south Arlene Baluwa was speaking during a day-long training for police officers from southern region on how to protect children from abuses during emergencies.
Baluwa said children particularly girls become vulnerable when disaster strikes as some men manipulate them in the name of providing them with basic amenities such as food, shelter and protection.
“There are cases of transitional sex whereby women and girls are abused sexually after being promised some favours. This has led into some being impregnated, infected with diseases or enter into forced marriages.
As for boys, there have been cases where some have been forced to drop out of school and concentrate on means that will help provide for their families rendered helpless due to disasters,” she said.
She expressed hope that through the training police officers will be equipped with necessary skills aimed at promoting the rights of children in such situations.
In his remarks, national child protection officer Alexander Ngwala said this year, police officers will be deployed in strategic places close to campsites to ensure they monitor properly whatever happens in the camps.
He called on children not to suffer in silence but report all forms of abuse to the police.
“We will also empower what we call camp chairpersons, overseers of whatever happens in the camps, to make sure they are able to protect the rights of children,” he said.
Ngwala hailed the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) for setting up a lot of camps in flood prone areas in Chikwawa, Nsanje and Phalombe districts to make sure flood victims do not seek shelter in schools and end up disturbing classes.