UN assisting flood victims in Malawi

News and Press Release
Originally published
(United Nations: 16 January 2003): In Malawi, heavy rains have resulted in floods in many parts of the country. The most affected areas are the districts of Salima, Balaka, Dedza, Machinga, Ntcheu, Dowa and Phalombe. There are also reports of floods in Rumphi, but details have not yet been received.
Assessments are underway in each of the districts to determine the numbers of households affected. Families have had their houses damaged and have lost crops such as maize, tobacco, rice and other food crops, the main source of livelihood for the majority of Malawians. The great majority of Malawians affected in these often-inaccessible areas are extremely poor women who are predominantly engaged in crop production. In addition, there has been considerable disruption to transportation of goods and services as a result of damage to roads, railway and bridges. In some areas, economic activity has come to a standstill.

The Government of Malawi, UNICEF, UNDP, OCHA, WFP and WHO, along with NGOs, have been providing assistance, including food and non-food items and needs assessments. President Muluzi of Malawi has declared a state of disaster.

The rains, which started late December 2002 and culminated in the floods, have occurred during a time when Malawi is experiencing a food crisis. Under the southern Africa emergency appeal, Malawi requires $144 million in aid for the period from July 2002 and June 2003.

For further information, please contact:

Ms. Stephanie Bunker (N.Y.): 1 212 963 8740
Ms. Elizabeth Byrs (Geneva): 41 22 917 26 53

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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