Malawi: Floods Emergency appeal (MDRMW011) - Operations update n° 1

Situation Report
Originally published


Appeal History:

  • This Emergency Appeal was launched on 22 January for CHF 2,639,620 for 9 months to support Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) provide assistance to some 42,130 persons (7,660 households) affected by floods.

  • Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF): CHF 274,000 was initially allocated from the Federation’s DREF to support the national society to respond.

  • This update provides information regarding the first 15 days of the operation since the launch.

  • The IFRC, on behalf of the Malawi Red Cross Society would like to thank all those that have contributed to this Emergency Appeal, including Swiss Red Cross and Netherlands Red Cross (from the Netherlands government).

Summary: Malawi has not only experienced the worst floods in two generations, but the disaster happened two months early according to the usual seasonal calendar, when nobody was expecting it.

Ever since early January, the country has been experiencing continual heavy rains accompanied by storms and high winds, all of which resulted in massive flooding (flash floods, inundation and storm damage), mainly across the southern part of the country. On 13 January 2015, the Government declared a state of emergency and appealed for international aid. The 15 affected districts (out of a total of 28 districts) are Nsanje, Chikwawa, Blanytre, Phalombe, Mulanje, Zomba, Machinga, Chiladzulu, Thyolo, Mangochi, Salima, Karonga, Balaka, Rumphi and Lilongwe.

After a comprehensive situation assessment by the UNDAC team in all 15 affected districts, the numbers at present are as follows: 1.15m people affected altogether, with currently 104 dead, 172 still missing, 645 injured, and a rough total of 336,000 people displaced. Of these, Nsanje district is worse off with 74,000 displaced,
Chikwawa has 35,000 displaced, and Phalombe a total of 50,000 displaced, although not all of these are in camps, but probably 30% are with host families at least some of the time. Of the other districts, Zomba and Blantyre are next worst hit by a large margin. It is believed that numbers are still somewhat inflated, but anything up to 230,000 people are still taking refuge – whether permanently or just at certain times – in sites, with an estimated 106,000 more in host families.