Beginning in late December, heavy seasonal rains – 400% higher than average – throughout the southern third of Malawi resulted in flash floods and displaced populations in the hardest hit districts (mainly Nsanje and Chikhwawa). The Government of Malawi declared a State of Emergency on January 13th, designating 15 of the country’s 28 districts as disaster zones.
According to the national humanitarian food security cluster, the number of displaced people stands at an estimated 264,000. More than 200 people are confirmed dead and many more are missing or trapped in inaccessible areas. The Government of Malawi, through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, appealed to the international community for support on 13th January 2015.
Eight government-led humanitarian “coordination clusters”, co-led by UN agencies and supported by cooperating partners and NGOs, have been activated by the Government of Malawi, including Transport, Logistics and Infrastructure. The clusters will be responsible for identification of needs within the cluster and ensuring that the needs are met or raised to the authorities and the Humanitarian Coordinator.
Clusters have issued appeals for tents, food, non-food items, and support in search and rescue activities. In many of the hardest hit areas, roads and bridges have been washed away, hampering access to people in need and posing significant challenges to conducting assessments that would allow for better understanding of the scale of the affected population and its immediate needs.
Heavy rains have wiped out thousands of hectares of crops and washed away livestock, which could have potentially disastrous long-term consequences on the country’s agrarian and subsistence economy. Approximately 638,000 people have been affected by crop damage.
Moreover, an estimated 200,000 students are at present no longer able to attend classes as schools have been flooded or repurposed as temporary shelters.
This Concept of Operations will be updated as the situation on the ground evolves. The services outlined below are expected to be offered for a limited period of time. The duration for the provision of these services will be dependent on the situation on the ground, operational needs and funding.