UNICEF Malawi Humanitarian Situation Report - Flood Situation Report: (6 May 2019)

Situation Report
Originally published



  • In the second half of April nine cholera cases were reported in three flood-affected districts of Chikwawa, Mwanza, and Nsanje. Conditions in flood-affected areas are now improving and some of the IDPs are returning home. However, an estimated 60,880 people (70%) of those displaced remain in camps.

  • Following the completion of a rapid market assessment, humanitarian agencies are looking into the possibility of switching the response modality for emergency and recovery work from in-kind to cash and voucher-based interventions.

  • UNICEF has so far provided safe water to over 61,317 people and sanitation facilities to 53,391 people.

  • UNICEF-supported mobile clinics have provided healthcare to 31,978 people.

  • UNICEF still has a funding gap of US$ 5.52 million, hindering its ability to fully provide the much-needed support to women and children affected by the floods

Situation Overview

The response to the aftermath of Cyclone Idai is almost at the end of its second month and the Government, with support of partners, is now looking at strategies for return and early recovery. Accessibility of affected areas is improving, allowing IDPs to return to their homes. However, an estimated 60,880 people (70%) of the (86,976) displaced remain in camps. Timely return is critical to allow schools being used as displacement camps to resume normal delivery of education and learning services, prevent the outbreak of secondary disasters including disease outbreaks, and harmonise and rationalise delivery of relief assistance to all the affected without the camps acting as a pull-factor. A smooth transition from immediate disaster response to early recovery and development is also critical to restore livelihoods of displaced families. A post-disaster needs assessment has been conducted and the report, which will inform early recovery interventions, is being finalised.

A Rapid Market Assessment was commissioned by the Malawi Cash Working Group to assess the functionality of markets in the flood-affected areas and provide recommendations on the most appropriate response options (for both emergency response and recovery interventions). The assessment has found that the market situation in the affected areas is ideal for cash-based response/early recovery support. Most key items from the sectors assessed are available on the market; traders are willing to increase supply if demand increases; the floods have not influenced prices negatively and purchasing power can be increased through some cash-based interventions amongst the flood affected people. Market-stimulating approaches, such as cash vouchers, are recommended for a few items that are not readily available on the market, which is currently being considered by humanitarian agencies.

Although areas that were water-logged have started to dry up, the risk of water borne diseases and outbreaks remains high due to overcrowding in IDP camps and inadequate access to safe drinking water, sanitation and health care. From 15 to 28 April 2019, nine cholera cases were reported in Chikwawa, Mwanza and Nsanje districts. All the cases are from the community and not the displacement camps. Cumulatively, 21 cases have been reported with no mortality in 2019 involving five districts (Blantyre (1), Chikwawa (1), Mchinji (2), Mwanza (10), Nsanje (7)).

Generally, the nutrition situation is stable across the country with the number of children admitted for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) treatment in March 2019 lower than SAM admissions in the same month in the previous three years. The nutrition situation, however, could deteriorate later in the year as the current response comes to an end and the food insecurity situation escalates.