Description of the disaster
Towards the end of the 2019 rainy season, Malawi experienced one of the worst strong winds, heavy rains and floods induced by tropical cyclone that formed in the Mozambican channel. Before the beginning of the rainy season, early March 2019, the country received heavy rains (highest recording of 255.5mm at Mpemba Met Station) accompanied by strong winds in the Southern Region Districts which resulted into flooding in 15 out of the 28 districts and 2 cities of the country. The heavy rains were as a result of a severe weather system (Tropical Depression 11) that formed offshore central Mozambique and hit Malawi before looping and tracking back and converting into Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai (TC Idai). Around 12:00 UTC on 11 March, TC Idai reached its initial peak intensity with estimated maximum winds of 195km/h (120mph), primarily affecting Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Accordingly, the President of the Republic of Malawi declared a state of disaster in all flood affected geographical areas and appealed for international assistance on the 8 March 2019. The Government led interagency assessment reported that 975,588 people was affected; 99,728 people displaced, 731,879 people were in immediate need and 60 people lost their lives. The floods damaged 295,074 houses including household assets and affected water supply systems, hydrological monitoring stations, farms, and other community infrastructure such as bridges, roads, schools and health centres. Furthermore, floods washed away standing crops in the field and animals were injured and lost.
The Southern Region, which is prone to annual floods experienced floods again during 2019/2020 rain season affecting districts such as Nsanje, Karonga, Nkhotakota, Chikwawa, Mchinji, Zomba and Phalombe. This has negatively impacted livelihood activities including destruction of crop fields supported through this Emergency Appeal. However, majority of the families managed to have good harvest through access to farm inputs (seeds) for replanting and consistent extension service support despite the floods.