We are deeply saddened by developing news about the significant human impact of the current floods in Malawi. Many people fear that this looks to be worse than the 2015 floods.
Where to donate
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) launched an appeal on 21st March to help people affected by flooding and Cyclone Idai across the three countries of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, with 14 of the UK's leading aid agencies are working together.
SCIAF has an appeal for Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Christian Aid has an appeal for Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
Tearfund has an appeal for Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe to raise money to help distribute food, cooking utensils and shelter, along with seeds to replant crops destroyed by the winds.
Oxfam has an appeal to help reach people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi who are worst affected by Cyclone Idai.
FROM Scotland is fundraising to support their response to the floods in the Chikwawa District of Malawi.
The Dòchas Education Trust is fundraising to distribute aid in the Nsanje District of Malawi. It will be purchased and distributed by their local executive board.
The Government of Malawi's Department of Disaster Management Affairs issued this media statement explaining how people can donate directly to the Government of Malawi if they wish. We recognise there will be a range of views within the membership of a direct donation like this to a Government.
Please email David to have your appeal added to this section.
On 12th March the Government of Malawi announced there had been 56 deaths and 577 injuries. 184,589 households (approximately 922,945 people) were affected at that time and 16,545 households (approximately 82, 725 people) have been displaced.
The districts of Machinga, Chikwawa, Zomba, Mulanje, Nsanje, Thyolo, Chiradzulu, Phalombe, Blantyre, Neno Mwanza, Dedza, Balaka and Mangochi are currently the worst affected districts we understand.
The Government of Malawi through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA) is leading the response, in coordination with the UN.
Inter-agency rapid needs assessments have been carried out, with the report likely to come out early next week. Information is currently being verified as access opens up, so the headline numbers will change.
Priorities are multi-sectoral, across WASH, NFIs, shelter, food security, health and logistics. Clusters will be identifying sectoral needs in more detail in the coming week.
Where to find information
We advise members to find the latest information from the below links:
- ReliefWeb will continue to issue regular updates.
- Google News collates the latest stories on the floods.
- On Twitter, the DEC in Scotland is posting updates
- On Twitter, people using #CycloneIdai and #MalawiFloods2019
- On Twitter, the Government of Malawi is posting updates
- On Facebook, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA) is posting updates
Latest Media Reports
Relief Web, 25th March: Oxfam distributing emergency aid to Cyclone Idai survivors in Malawi and Mozambique
The Press and Journal, 25th March: VIDEO: North-east residents asked to dig deep for cyclone appeal
Relief Web, 25th March: Government commends partners for assistance to those affected by floods
The Herald, 24th March: David Pratt: In the eye of the storm
The National, 24th March: Cyclone Idai: Here's what it's like in the disaster zone – and how you can help
The Scotsman, 23rd March: Scottish Government announces aid to support Cyclone Idai victims
The Press and Journal, 23rd March: Aberdeen aid worker talks of cyclone devastation in West Africa
The Press and Journal, 23rd March: Malawi cyclone: Department head speaks
The Herald, 22nd March: Lord McConnell: Speed and quality of aid response will be vital in wake of Cyclone Idai
The Herald, 22nd March: Cyclone Idai: Fears death toll could exceed 1000
BBC News, 21st March: Cyclone Idai: How the storm tore into southern Africa
Aljazeera, 20th March: 'Major humanitarian' crisis after cyclone slams southern Africa. A UN statement that 2.6 million people are affected across the area with 920k people affected in Malawi, according to the UN World Food Programme.
The Independent, 20th March: Cyclone Idai: ‘Death all over’ as floods wipe out ‘evidence houses were ever here. Quotes UN officials in Malawi saying that in some areas, all sign of human habitation has been washed away.
BBC News, 20th March: Cyclone Idai: 'Massive disaster' in Mozambique and Zimbabwe
Channel 4, 19th March: 1,000 may be dead after Cyclone Idai hits southern Africa, says Mozambique President. In its reports on the severe impact of Cyclone Idai on Mozambique, Channel 4 news reports the death toll in Malawi to have risen to 122 people:
Relief Web, 18th March: Almost half a million women and girls affected by floods in Malawi. The article says that the UN Population Fund (UNPFA) Malawi has prepositioned reproductive health kits and other supplies to support the women and girls affected by the floods.”
The Scotland Malawi Partnership is responding to the floods by:
- Collecting and collating information from our sister network, MaSP, and a number of our members about the impact they are seeing on the ground.
- Updating this page with information as we receive it, to help inform members, partners and the public about the situation.
- Supporting members’ fundraising efforts. If you have started a public appeal related to the floods please contact David urgently and we will do all we can to promote this.
Engaging the Scottish Government, ensuring officials are briefed and connected. We are grateful for the Government’s responsiveness and strongly support the decision to award £175,000 to support emergency flood relief through the University of Strathclyde on 14th March which was then followed by an additional £150,000 to support relief efforts in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe following Cyclone Idai on 23rd March.
We will dedicate time at our next Cross Party Group on Malawi on 1st May to receive an overview and update on the Malawi floods by Professor. Bob Kalin from the University of Strathclyde. More information on the Cross Party Group here.
If there is more or different support you would like the SMP to offer, please contact David. This is our top priority.
First Minister Statement
In reply to a powerful question from Malawi CPG member Maureen Watt MSP, in First Minister’s Questions on 14th March, the First Minister made the following statement which you can watch by clicking on the link.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:
“I thank Maureen Watt for raising the issue. My condolences go to all those who have been affected by the disaster in Malawi. Our thoughts are with the people of Malawi at what is an incredibly difficult time for them.
“I am pleased to tell the chamber that we have just announced the provision of £175,000 to support efforts to ensure safe water supplies in southern Malawi. Funding will be provided through the climate justice fund and will be delivered by our hydro nation partners, who are already working on the ground in southern Malawi to secure water resources that have been affected by the floods. Scottish Government officials will also work closely with partners on the ground to support the relief efforts.
“As Maureen Watt indicated, Scotland has a historic relationship with Malawi that goes back 150 years. The people of Malawi are our friends. We do a great deal of work in and for Malawi, from which we ourselves benefit. We stand with the people of Malawi at this difficult time, and we will do everything possible to help.”
Scottish Government response
The Scottish Government has been quick to respond to the floods, awarding £175,000 to support emergency flood relief in Malawi on 14th March.
The funds are delivering critical work to secure water supplies and treat contamination in the immediate aftermath of the disaster.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:
“First and foremost, I know the people of Scotland will join the Scottish Government in sending our thoughts and prayers to the growing number of people in southern Malawi whose lives have been affected by this devastating flooding – particularly those who have, tragically, lost a family member.
“We have close links with the people of Malawi and, since news of the flooding broke, we have been in contact with International Development and Climate Justice Fund partners on the ground to identify how the Scottish Government can best support emergency relief efforts.
“The funding we have announced today will go to the heart of addressing the urgent issues being faced. It will enable our HydroNation programme experts, who are in the region right now co-ordinating relief efforts, to continue to deliver emergency action targeting the most at-risk water supplies.
“As climate change will cause weather events like this to become more frequent, it is critical that we continue to offer support to the international communities which are often the first to be affected.”
International Development Minister Ben Macpherson said:
“Scotland is an outward-looking, compassionate nation and it is right that we support families and communities affected by these devastating floods in Malawi.
“This cross-Government funding will complement our support for established programmes in the affected districts, while also providing emergency relief.
“We will continue to monitor the status of our projects and partners in the regions badly-affected by the flooding, to address the immediate situation and also build resilience for the future.
“Scotland’s links with Malawi are incredibly strong and our thoughts are with all of Malawi at this difficult time.”
On 23rd March, Ben Macpherson MSP announced that the Scottish Government would provide £150,000 to the DEC appeal. Around £100,000 of funding is to come from the international development budget, with £50,000 allocated from the Climate Justice Fund to support emergency flood relief in Malawi in securing water supplies and treating contamination.
UK Government response
On 20th March, Patrick Grady, MP for Glasgow North and Chair of the Malawi All Party Parliamentary Group, asked the Minister of State for Africa, Rt Hon Harriett Baldwin MP, about resilience and preparedness for future crises. The Minister replied, praising Scotland’s links with Malawi and highlighting the importance of long-term good security.
On 21st March, the UK Government announced that the UK is providing £3.4 million to provide immediate life-saving aid to victims of recent floods in Malawi. This brings the total UK aid for survivors of Cyclone Idai to £12 million.
UK aid, provided by the UK's Department for International Development, will provide emergency shelter, food, clean water and sanitation facilities, and health support. DFID support responding to this crisis is in addition to existing large scale resilience-building programming which is providing cash transfers so that 140,000 people can feed themselves until the end of March. The UK is channelling support through the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the Red Cross, targeting the most affected areas of Phalombe, Nsanje and Chikwawa. UK aid will:
- Provide 65,000 people with emergency shelter, and support camps hosting people displaced from their homes; support 150,000 people with immediate food assistance for two months; provide 250,000 people with water, sanitation and hygiene support; and help 130,000 people across health services.
- DFID is the biggest donor to the START fund, which has allocated over £400,000 to enable an NGO consortium headed by Trocaire and HelpAge International to meet immediate needs, such as clean water and shelter in Malawi.
DFID Malawi Head of Office, David Beer, said:
"The floods and devastation linked to the recent Cyclone Idai weather system have had a shocking impact on the region, including on southern Malawi. The UK is absolutely committed to supporting Malawians who have been affected. The £3.4 million of funding for immediate food, shelter, health and water and sanitation needs will help Malawians deal with the immediate impact."
On 18th March the UK Government announced that DFID will provide up to £6 million of UK aid to send humanitarian relief to people in Mozambique and Malawi affected by Cyclone Idai.
UK International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:
"I have made £6 million of UK aid available to help meet the immediate needs of people who have lost everything. We have deployed a UK team of DFID experts who are now on the ground in Mozambique helping to co-ordinate the UK’s response to this disaster, and we hope to have vital UK aid supplies in the region shortly. We stand ready to scale up our support if needed.
"The images of loss and devastation following this deadly cyclone and extreme weather are shocking. The people of Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe should know that they are firmly in our thoughts at this difficult time, and that the UK stands by their side."
Cross Party Support
A Motion in the Scottish Parliament (S5M-16375) was lodged by Liam McArthur MSP on 14th March, to show cross party support for Malawi. The Motion states:
“That the Parliament recognises the devastating human impact that widespread floods are having in Malawi; acknowledges that latest figures suggest some 56 people have so far died in southern Malawi, with 577 injured, 83,000 displaced and almost half a million affected; notes that many friends and partners of Scotland have been caught up in this disaster, and that numerous Scotland-Malawi links are urgently working to respond to this crisis; welcomes the Scottish Government’s lifesaving additional allocation of £175,000 to support secure water supplies and treat contamination in the immediate aftermath of the disaster; recognises the coordination and support being offered by the Scotland Malawi Partnership; understands that, sadly, tropical cyclone Idai will bring further heavy rain and flooding in the coming days; recognises that civic links with Malawi are active in every Scottish constituency, and considers that Scotland should continue to provide support and assistance to its close friends in Africa at this difficult time.”
The motion has received strong cross party support with MSPs from every political party in Holyrood signing.
Also on 14th March, Maureen Watt MSP, Malawi Cross Party Group member, asked about Scotland’s response in First Minister’s Questions and received a strong message of support from the First Minister.
On 19th March, Patrick Grady, MP for Glasgow North and Chair of the Malawi All-Party Parliamentary Group, asked the UK Government about its response to the crises.
On 20th March Patrick Grady MP asked Rt Hon Harriett Baldwin MP, Minister of State for Africa, about the UK Government's response to the flood and future preparedness.
Minister Baldwin replied:
"This allows me to pay tribute to the Scotland-Malawi partnership, demonstrated by the statistic that 43% of people in Scotland know someone who is, or are themselves, part of links between Scotland and Malawi. I know that civil society across Scotland will be engaging both with these local partnerships but also more widely through the appeal. I thank everyone in Scotland for their generosity towards this cause.
"The hon. Gentleman asked specifically about the work that we will be doing on resilience, which is also for the United Nations. Resilience takes many forms, but one of the most important is the crops that are sown, the ways in which they are sown and the way that the land is used. That is an important part of the work that we are doing—helping farmers to make use of the land in a way that gives them the best resilience to these kinds of climate shocks."
On 22nd March, Patrick Grady MP tabled a Motion mirroring the Scottish Parliament motion, and we are confident this will likewise receive all party support from Scottish MPs.
Malawian Government response
You can read the Government of Malawi Press Release: Expression of Gratitude and Appeal for More Assistance here.
Useful documents we have been sent
The Climate Justice Fund Water Futures Programme has been working with available satellite data to estimate the number of water points that might have been impacted by flood waters. From the existing data, there are around 1860 that are 'At Risk' from flood waters, especially those which may have impacted pit latrines. This does not mean these have any demonstrated contamination issue, but it does indicate the magnitude of resources that could be considered for either chlorination or supply of water purification tablets at point of use to reduce the risk in the short term and to inform any relief efforts. Please note,this is not a complete and exhaustive study and is only based on the available information to hand. Photo credit: Scottish Gov't Climate Justice Fund Water Futures Programme at the University of Strathclyde.
- 12th March: Government of Malawi statement on Tropical Cyclone IDAI
- 11th March: Update from GOAL Malawi (Irish NGO). This sets out the situation from their perspective in Nsanje, Chikwawa, Blantyre and Mchinga, as well as short, medium and long term priorities
- 11th March: Chikwawa District Flooding Report
- 11th March: Government of Malawi Press Release about how to donate directly to DODMA (Government of Malawi)
- 11th-16th March: Five day weather forecast
- 12th March: Nsanje March 2019 floods situation report
- 10th March: DODMA floods update
- 9th March: ROSEA Malawi Flash Update
- 8th March: Zomba District Council Preliminary Report
- 8th March: Government of Malawi statement
- 15th March: Projected Floods Impact and Weather Conditions as presented at the UN HTC meeting
- 14th March: Flooding in Malawi - Impact Assessment Report
- 12th March: START Network Briefing
Impact on members’ work
A large number of members have contacted us with information and updates about the impact on their partners. Please to continue to email David with updates, as this helps give us an overall picture of priorities on the ground.
- 11th March: A member has told us that their partners in Nsanje District are very badly affected, as the Shire River has flooded that whole plain. The government estimate that roughly 40,000+ people are displaced. The bridge at Chikwawa is under several feet of water. Many are waiting to see how badly damaged it is as it is the only available road from Blantyre to the south (grandly known as the M1)
- 12th March: Another has told us that Primary Schools in the Lifuni Ward of Zomba District are being used to house evacuees.
- Another member, also a partner in Zomba (20 minutes drive outside of Zomba, off the Mpondabwino-Ulumba Road, Mandala Village), tells us (8th March) that this community has been seriously affected, with the main issues being homes and crops being destroyed, and multiple families are living in the offices. They also have no electricity as the power lines are down, making organising relief more difficult. They have said the most urgent demands are for food aid, tents, bedding and for fast-growing crops.
- 9th March: Open Arms Malawi released a statement in which they note Chikwawa and Nsanje Districts remain inaccessible from Blantyre… The floods have already caused loss of life, have badly damaged infrastructure including roads and hydro-electricity power generation. What looked like a promising harvest (Mar-Apr) will now need to be re-assessed after the inevitable crop damage. The effects of these floods will be felt now, for the remainder or 2019 and into 2020.
Please email David if you have information which you feel it would be helpful to share on this page.
Photo credit: Amaru Photography/ Malumbo Simwaka