ACT Alert Malawi - No. 36/2009: Earthquake and cyclone in Malawi

News and Press Release
Originally published


Geneva, 16 December 2009

A series of earthquakes hit the Karonga district in northern Malawi between 6 December and 12 December 2009. One of the earthquakes registered 5.8 on Richter scale and completely razed many houses. One death was registered and more than 16 people were seriously injured and admitted to government hospitals. Many public institutions have been closed because of cracks and instability in buildings that has left them life-threatening if occupied. So far 16,512 people have been affected. At the same time the districts of Chikwawa and Thyolo in southern Malawi were hit by a cyclone and rainstorm that has damaged houses, crops and livestock.

The earthquake in Karonga has damaged houses and schools, and displaced the inhabitants of 23 villages. Currently, 12,300 people are living in tents with poor sanitary facilities and no fresh water. The cyclone in the south has demolished more than 945 households. For those people that had already cultivated their fields and planted sorghum, about of 371.7 ha of land under crops (maize, sorghum) has been washed away. More than 200 goats and 300 poultry had been lost at the time of reporting. Without permanent

The Malawi Government has set up a task force to assess the damage and has provided tents to the displaced people. The government has also announced it will provide 17,000 USD to the people living in the camps to buy essential items for survival. Additional aid, such as plastic sheeting, Jerry cans, and food items were distributed by the Malawi Red Cross.

ACT members have carried out a joint assessment with the Department of Disaster and Preparedness of Malawi and other NGOs. The disaster response is coordinated by the District Assembly of the Government.