Food security is a pressing concern in Malawi largely as a result of chronic poverty and natural hazards such as drought and flooding. Across Malawi, approximately 3.3 million people are severely food insecure (IPC phase 3 and above).? Additionally, it is estimated that nearly 40% of children under five suffer  chronic malnutrition.?

Since early March 2019, Malawi has experienced heavy rainfall linked to Tropical Cyclone Idai, which has led to intense flooding in 14 districts across southern and central regions of the country. In total, at least 900,000 people have been affected, with 56 deaths and 577 injuries reported .? Up to 125,000 people have been displaced, most of whom are currently living in camps or makeshift sites in schools and churches.?Humanitarian access remains limited in many of the affected districts as a result of damage to roads and bridges.?Food, WASH, shelter, livelihoods, and health needs are particularly acute.  

Malawi’s risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster is assessed to be medium at 4.6/10, according to the 2019 Inform Risk Index. Malawi’s lack of coping capacity is of concern.?

Latest Developments

20/03: Since 5 March, large areas of southern and central Malawi have been affected by flooding triggered by heavy rainfall. According to government sources, 56 people have been killed by the floods and up to 125,000 people have been displaced. Humanitarian needs have been reported in the affected areas including food, water, shelter, livelihoods, and health.?

19/02: Renewed flooding triggered by heavy rainfall has displaced at least 250 people and destroyed approximately 60 hectares of farmland in Central Malawi. The government of Malawi has been distributing food and non-food items to the affected population, though the full extent of humanitarian needs is not currently known. Flooding is relatively common in Malawi during the rainy season, which runs from November to April.?

Key figures

  • 3,300,000 People in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and IPC phase 4 (Emergency)  [?]
  • 37 percent of children under the age of five are stunted  [?]

Key priorities

Food – Nationwide, 3.3 million people are in need of emergency food assistance. Mangochi, Chikwawa, and Dedza, are among the most affected districts.?




Key documents