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Heavy rains and flooding cause extensive crop and infrastructure damage in southern Malawi

  • Key Message Update
  • Malawi
  • March 2019
Heavy rains and flooding cause extensive crop and infrastructure damage in southern Malawi

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Heavy rainfall at the beginning of March led to flooding in southern and parts of central Malawi resulting in infrastructure and crop damage, loss of livestock, collapse of houses, and cutting off of roads as well as damage to clean water sources. Preliminary reports indicate over 860,000 people were affected with close to 87,000 displaced to about 173 IDP camps and about 672 injuries and 60 deaths. Households in IDP camps are receiving humanitarian assistance, while many non-displaced households are still benefiting from the humanitarian assistance delivered in January and February as it was not destroyed or washed away by heavy rains or flooding.

    • Households severely affected by flooding have lost their livelihood source and may require humanitarian food assistance beyond the end of the typical lean season. Preliminary results of a FEWS NET led joint assessment estimate in southern areas 25,000 to 35,000 hectares of matured crop were destroyed, significantly decreasing production estimates across the south. Households who lost crops, livestock, and household assets including displaced households are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and will likely experience these outcomes for the rest of the consumption season. Although the number of households in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) will most likely not be sufficient to change the area level phase classification and Stressed! (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes are present as humanitarian food assistance is mitigating outcomes.  

    • Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are present in most northern areas as households consume food from own stocks and started accessing the green harvest.  Most central areas are in Minimal! (IPC Phase 1!) as humanitarian assistance continues. Food security outcomes were previously anticipated to improve to Minimal (IPC Phase 1) across the country with the harvest. However, food insecurity outcomes in districts severely affected by flooding will not improve as earlier projected. In Nsanje, Phalombe, Chikwawa, Machinga, Mangochi, Zomba and Mwanza outcomes are most likely to be Stressed (IPC Phase 2) with many households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) based on the extent of crop destruction and loss of assets due to the flooding.

    • Mitundu the national representative market had a 5 percent increase from February to March for maize meal prices. Current, prices are 70 percent higher than the previous year and about 15 percent above the five-year average. This is due to the increased number of households relying on market purchases amidst dwindling supplies. In southern Malawi, price increases were more significant. The observed maize grain prices were much higher in local markets than in ADMARC markets. Maize prices in southern Malawi markets increased by about 57 percent in a couple weeks due to increased demand and market disruptions caused by flooding.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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