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ACT Alliance Alert: Malawi Floods - 2012/2013 rainfall season

ACT Alliance - Switzerland - Wed, 16 Jan 2013 14:11 GMT
Author: Elisabeth Gouel
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Malawi Floods – 2012/2013 rainfall season

Geneva, 16 January 2013

1.         Brief description of the emergency and impact

The 2012/2013 rainfall seasonal forecast for Southern Africa and Malawi specifically predicted normal to above normal rainfall for all the zones of Malawi.  The first heavy rains fell in the last week of October, 2012 resulting into flash floods in some areas of the country. Subsequent heavy rains fell in early January and persisted for over a week, resulting into floods in various locations of the country. In some cases, rains were accompanied by heavy wind storms. Phalombe, Mangochi, Thyolo, Dedza, Zomba, Salima are some of the districts affected.

2.         Why is an ACT response needed?


ACT response is needed immediately as lives of more than 8,260 people are in danger. The affected people have no food, shelter, extra clothing, kitchen utensils and sanitary materials which are very crucial for their survival. A rapid response will save lives of the affected population by providing the essential basic needs for their survival in the emergency situation.


There is a great need of emergence response (food, utensils, chlorine, tents and mosquito nets) to the area (victims) as swiftly as possible to save lives affected and those at risk. Malnutrition will rise due to lack of emergency food and damage of crops (maize, pineapples, sugar canes and cassava). Utensils and beddings have been swept away; this will expose the victims to contagious diseases e.g: cholera and malaria cases especially to under-five children and pregnant women.


Thyolo district assembly is in dire need of food stuffs, kitchen utensils, beddings, plastic sheets for roofing to support the affected people. As a council, Thyolo also need support of strong 4x4 vehicles, fuel and meals for staff to assess the situation in the 2 affected areas. As of now the council has sent no assistance to the area. No NGO has assisted the affected people. Thyolo has a trained civil protection committees at district and area level able to report emergencies and do early warnings, however they are resource constrained without stocks to help the affected people.

3.         National and international response

The Government of Malawi (through the Department of Disaster and Management Affairs) has gone ahead to launch a response programme to the communities affected, distributing food relief items and plastic sheeting in Phalombe and Zomba districts. Assessments of the situation will be carried out in three of the affected districts vis a vis Phalombe, Thyolo and Mangochi from the 17th of January 2013.

In Mulanje district, the local leaders have provided the victims with an Evacuation shelter at one of the primary school. The Village Development Committee and Traditional Authority is registering names of those affected and disseminating health awareness messages. Chlorine is being provided to the affected communities in Phalombe district.

4.         ACT Alliance response

So far ACT has not provided any assistance to the affected communities but is monitoring the situation on the ground through the field officers and providing feedback and updates to the national offices. ACT has also participated in the national planning meeting that was organised by DoDMA on the 14th of January 2013. ACT Malawi forum members are going to send some of their project officers to participate in the field assessments.

5.         Planned activities

Following their own initial rapid assessments ELDS and CARD, through the ACT Malawi forum, plan to respond to the emergency to assist the affected populations in Thyolo and Phalombe districts with the following interventions: provision of food, temporary shelter, blankets, chroline/bio-filters and kitchen utensils.

There will also be need to put measures to respond to the emergency in the near future, in Nsanje and Chikhwawa districts as likely the floods will go downstream to the low lying areas late January/early February, if the rains continue at the same pace.

The forum is in the process of completing and sending a Rapid Response request as the situation demands an immediate response in order to save lives of those affected.

6.         Constraints

Apart from supporting funds there is no any constraint to effectively respond to the emergency situation.

Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to Jean-Daniel Birmele, Director of Finance (

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