Malawi: Earthquake DREF Operation No. MDRMW005

Situation Report
Originally published
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GLIDE no. EQ-2009-000257-MWI

The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross and Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.

CHF 306,365 (USD 295,891 or EUR 202,502) has been allocated from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' (IFRC's) Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) in delivering immediate assistance to some 1,930 households (9,650) beneficiaries). Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

Summary: Two days of sizable earth tremors were experienced from the evening of 6 December 2009 in the Karonga district in northern Malawi. The tremors, with a magnitude of 5.8 on the Richter scale, caused over eight earth tremors during the first day, affecting approximately 3,000 households and the patients at the Karonga district hospital. Although verification is incomplete, 1,929 affected houses have already been confirmed. Major damage has been triggered by the collapse of walls, rendering houses completely uninhabitable.

According to reports received from the Karonga District Assembly, 15 people were injured, nine of whom have been hospitalised. The death of a year-old child after a wall fell on him during the morning of 8 December 2009 has also been confirmed.

As an initial response, MRCS has given assistance to people left homeless by the earthquake, who is currently living in the open outside their damaged homes, which are in danger of further collapse. MRCS distributed 40 tarpaulins, five family tents and 20 shelter kits. IFRC has also despatched 400 tarpaulins and 300 shelter kits for distribution to the affected households.

The Government of Malawi, through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, has called for a joint assessment by the national disaster assessment team, of which MRCS is a member. The situation will be re-evaluated following the conclusion of the assessment. Therefore, this DREF allocation will be used for the emergency phase only. The recovery phase will follow when the technical review has been conducted.

This operation is expected to be implemented over three months, and will therefore be completed by 31 March 2010; a Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by 30 June 2010).