These women and children in Nsanje district were among the first to receive High Energy Biscuits that were brought in immediately as life-saving food assistance. Copyright: WFP/Fitina Khonje

One Month Since Malawi’s Disaster Declaration

One month after historic floods engulfed much of southern Malawi in January 2015, devastating the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands, WFP continues to respond to the crisis by providing food assistance to flood-affected people and logistics support to the entire humanitarian community. 

Overview

Malawi is a small and landlocked country, bordering Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. It is a UNFPA global population hotspot with a rapidly expanding population (3 percent per year). The country is defined as low-income and ranks 174 out of 187 countries in the 2013 Human Development Index, where it has stagnated for the last five years. Female-headed households experience higher poverty than those headed by men. Since 2012, economic shocks such as devaluation of the Kwacha by 49 percent and inflation of above 20 percent have contributed to high living costs, with Malawi ranking as the 13th worst performing economy in the 2014/15 Global Competitiveness report. With a majority of livelihoods dependent on agriculture, the population is highly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters such as annual dry spells and flooding.

WFP Helicopter In Action For Floods

A WFP helicopter has been delivering vitamin- and micro-nutrient fortified High Energy Biscuits to areas of the country that have been completely cut off by floods. The biscuits are being prioritised for the most vulnerable population, including women and children who are more likely to reduce their food consumption in favour of other household members in times of emergency. Photo courtesy of Pádraic MacOireachtaigh