Malawi: UN responds to humanitarian needs, gradual shift to recovery and strengthening resilience (01.05.2019)
In early March, heavy rains and flooding linked to the cyclone killed 60 people, displaced nearly 87,000 people and affected around 870,000 persons.
LILONGWE, Malawi, May 1, 2019 – United Nations agencies in collaboration with the Government of Malawi, national and international agencies have reached over 400,000 persons affected by the impact of Cyclone Idai. The flood affected populations have received immediate life-saving relief support including food, medicine, shelter, protection services and other non-food-items such as water, sanitation and hygiene supplies.
In early March, heavy rains and flooding linked to the cyclone killed 60 people, displaced nearly 87,000 people and affected around 870,000 persons. The Government of Malawi declared a State of Disaster on 8th March and subsequently launched a Flood Response Plan and Appeal on 28th March to support life-saving humanitarian interventions in 15 affected districts.
The flood response plan appeal has received US$ 25.6 million funding contributions and pledges out of a total requirement of US$ 45.2 million. Based on lessons learnt from the 2015 flood response, early recovery efforts have been integrated in the response plan to reduce further risks and mitigate the impact of future shocks.
UN Resident Coordinator, Maria Jose Torres, said the UN and partners triggered their support to the response almost immediately after the floods had hit, including, using prepositioned relief supplies. Additional support to the Government of Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) includes facilitating coordination and information management to enhance the response operations. An Emergency Operations Centre is established in the Ministry of Homeland Security to facilitate coordination of field operations.
“We assisted the government to rapidly assess the immediate needs to inform the humanitarian response,” said Torres. “Beyond addressing the immediate needs, we are also supporting the Government to assess post-disaster recovery needs that will inform early to long term recovery interventions in the affected areas.”
A Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) has been undertaken by the Malawi Government, UN, World Bank and European Union to assess damages, losses and priority recovery needs and costs. The data and information collected will inform the Government’s flood recovery plan.
“In tandem with the emergency response, we are also working with all sectors to support the affected communities’ gradual transition to recovery. This includes the UN’s support to DoDMA’s decision to provide a return home package to displaced populations who have expressed interest to return to their homes. This move aligns well with the country’s national resilience building,” said Torres.
Within the framework of One UN, several UN offices, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Women, World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office (UNRCO) and World Health Organisation (WHO), are supporting the response in various ways that reflect their respective mandates and specialized expertise.
Below are more details on UN support to the response:
- Over 91,000 households (over 410,000 people) provided with food or cash in nine districts. The food basket provided to 75 per cent of the people reached, comprises of a 50kg bag of maize, 10kgs of pulses and 2 litres of vegetable oil, while cash transfers of MK 18,000, equivalent to the value of the food basket, is provided to 25 per cent of the population reached.
- As of 11 April, with UN support, the number of people reached with integrated health services in flood affected districts is 82,394. Other assitance includes screening, immunisation, reproductive health services and treatment of people in internally displacement sites through mobile.
- Across the country, a total of 51,081 children (23,009 boys 28,072 girls) have been screened for malnutrition and 1,811 children (942 boys and 869 girls) with Severe Acute Malnutrition were admitted and treated through the Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition programme. Of these, 121 children were admitted from the various camps. Mass screening and active case findings are on-going focussing on eight prioritised floods affected distrcts ( Balaka, Chikwawa, Machinga, Mangochi, Mulanje, Nsanje, Phalombe, and Zomba).
- 10,000 dignity kits have been distributed targeting vulnerable pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and adolescent girls in displacement camps in the affected districts. The kit contains soaps, underwear, sanitary pads, sanitary cloth, wrapping cloth, tooth paste, shavers, plastic bucket and plastic cups among others. Additional 4,200 dignity kits have also been procured and will be distributed in the coming days.
- Reproductive Health (RH) kits to prevent maternal and neonatal deaths have been distributed to nine flood affected districts. The RH kits include individual clean delivery kits, equipment and medicines for assisted delivery and management of unsafe abortion among others.
- Messages on prevention and reporting of sexual and gender based violence are being dissmeinated through community and national radios including theatre.
- A total of 54,209 people in 17 sites reached with safe water as per agreed standards through provision of water containers, treatment chemicals, and water trucking.
- A total of 51,691 people in 19 sites reached with services as per agreed standards through the installation of emergency latrines and bath shelters separate for men and women. Also, hygiene messages have reached more than 45,000 people.
- About 47,000 displaced people reached with shelter and non-food items in four districts.
- About 180,000 people are planned to be targeted with early recovery interventions in six districts, with interventions including removal of debris and solid waste management, support for reconstruction of homes, provision of agricultural kits including farm implements to enable winter cropping, distribution of small livestock to increase the asset base of farmers and cash-based interventions to enhance the provision of basic household needs of the affected population.
- A total of 28,812 learners (15,149 girls, 13,663 boys) in 143 schools in six districts provided with education supplies, temporary learning spaces and teachers, school meals and sanitation facilities. In addition, 2,731 Early Childhood Development (ECD) children (1458 girls, 1273 boys) supported with ECD kits and tent classrooms in 19 camps in five districts.
- In line with the ‘Leave No One Behind’ principle, the Age, Gender and Diversity Mainstreaming (AGDM) tool was used to engender the humanitarian response through the clusters to ensure that life-saving support indeed reached the most disadvantaged and the furthest behind first.
The Humanitarian Country Team, comprising humanitarian and development actors, continues to monitor the situation, in addition to supporting the Government of Malawi to address the current emergency through coherent planning for short-term interventions that meet basic needs, and medium -and long- term programming that increases the coping capabilities of communities and households. These joint efforts reaffirm the shared commitment by the UN to strengthening the humanitarian-development nexus to achieve collective outcomes, improve community resilience, and ensure that no one is left behind.