UNDP Malawi Resident Representative and The Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, H.E. Liu Hongyang

The Government of Malawi, with support from the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is coordinating a new disaster recovery project to reconstruct houses and repair infrastructure damaged during the 2019 Cyclone Idai in Malawi.

Floods in Malawi continue to pose serious threats to life and property across the country, with women, children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups the most affected.  In 2019, Cyclone Idai left devastating challenges in a country that is already battling with other social economic issues. The heavy rains and flooding linked to the cyclone, killed 60 people, displaced nearly 87,000 people and affected around 870,000 persons in the country.  The extent of damage caused by Cyclone Idai far exceeds the fiscal capacity of the Government of Malawi to effectively respond and build resilience to future floods, of which the housing sector was hit the hardest.

When Cyclone Idai hit Malawi, H.E. Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to H.E. President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika to extend the deep consolation to the victims and sincere sympathies to the beavered families, the injured and the people in the disaster-hit areas.

The new project will construct 180 safe, green and climate resilient houses for families in worst hit communities in Zomba and Phalombe districts.

The project’s financial contribution is part of the Government of China’s South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund (SSCAF), which provides financial support for inclusive and sustainable development.

The Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, H.E. Liu Hongyang noted that after the flood in Malawi, March 2019, the Chinese Government gave a helping hand immediately to assist Malawi by providing cash, assistance, food aid, and free medical treatment and clinics. Chinese enterprises and Chinese people in Malawi also provided their assistance through voluntary donations to the disaster-hit areas.

Reflecting on this partnership between Malawi, China and UNDP, the Chinese Ambassador noted, “In order to help the Malawi people to resume normal production and life after Cyclone Idai, the Chinese Government signed an agreement with UNDP valued at $1 million for the restoration of houses and essential public infrastructure in southern Malawi. We are pleased to support and sustain the safe and dignified return of displaced families to their new homes.”

Commenting on the initiative, the Resident Representative for UNDP Malawi, Shigeki Komatsubara said, “While affected communities are taking initiatives to restore their livelihoods, it is important for all of us to support such processes and help in their recovery and reconstruction needs, with key principles of building back better and not  leaving anyone behind”.

The project is targeting to reconstruct houses of which 50 percent are female-headed households and the other percentage include the elderly and people with physical disabilities.

The new project will also repair community facilities including schools and markets and rehabilitate irrigation schemes, all in a bid to help the livelihoods of the affected communities, with infrastructures that can withstand future shocks.

Furthermore, the initiative also plans to train government officials, contractors and beneficiary households in new techniques to help construct climate resilient houses, in the face of climate shocks.


For further information please contact;

Madalitso Mbendera, UNDP Communications and Resource Mobilization Analyst madalitso.mbendera@undp.org

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