Based on Malawi’s Flood Response Plan, a coordinated emergency response is underway by the Government of Malawi, its UN partners, and NGOs to address immediate needs, particularly relating to water and sanitation, essential medicines and food assistance

Lilongwe, 25th March 2019 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has extended support to the Government of Malawi to accelerate early recovery interventions targeting households affected by severe flooding in the southern region of Malawi.

In early March, a severe weather system formed off the eastern coast of Mozambique and hit Malawi with heavy rain and strong winds before moving back to the Mozambique channel where it intensified into Cyclone Idai and hit Malawi a second time.

More than 865,000 people have been affected, including more than 86,980 displaced, with 59 deaths and 672 injuries recorded, according to the Government. In total, fifteen districts and 2 cities have been impacted, with the seven districts of Nsanje, Phalome, Chikwawa, Mangochi, Balaka, Chiradzulu, and Zomba hardest hit. 

Based on Malawi’s Flood Response Plan, a coordinated emergency response is underway by the Government of Malawi, its UN partners, and NGOs to address immediate needs, particularly relating to water and sanitation, essential medicines and food assistance.   Ms. Claire Medina, interim UNDP Resident Representative, noted, “In partnership with the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), NGOs, and other UN partners, UNDP is supporting efforts to deliver effective early recovery interventions in parallel with the crisis response”.

As part of its Emergency Development Response to Crisis and Recovery (EDRCR) Funding Window, UNDP is providing US$500,000 to Malawi for early recovery interventions in response to Cyclone Idai.

Noting that most of the hardest hit districts in 2019 are the same that were severely impacted by heavy floods three years earlier in 2015, Ms. Medina said, “While ongoing efforts are rightly focused on immediate needs in affected communities, recovery can take months for those households whose lives and livelihoods have been severely disrupted.  Without more investments to build resilience to floods, which we know will increase in severity and frequency owing to climate change, communities will remain vulnerable to the steady erosion of their productive assets, deepening the cycle of poverty and putting at risk Malawi’s development gains”.  

Early recovery is a vital element of an effective humanitarian crisis response, serving as the foundation for building resilience in post-crisis transition.  Early recovery interventions will focus on emergency employment in affected communities to help clear debris, repair damaged infrastructure, restore basis services, and help households to build back better by making their houses more resilient to extreme weather events.

Initial assessments point to the need to rehabilitate vital community assets, such as irrigation systems and bridges, with further interventions to be identified during a post-disaster needs assessment which will be led by the Government of Malawi with its UN and other partners.

The early recovery activities will focus on livelihood-centric interventions to support the immediate economic recovery needs of affected communities, while strengthening the capacity of district authorities to support preparedness and recovery in affected communities.

UNDP funding from the EDRCR for early recovery in Malawi is made possible by contributions from Denmark, Germany, Luxemburg, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Slovak Republic, Sweden and Switzerland.

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Media Contacts: UNDP Communications and Resource Mobilisation Analyst – Madalitso.mbendera@undp.org

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