Press release

UK steps up support to victims of Malawi floods

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

UK to provide more food, blankets and essential supplies for the thousands of people who have lost their homes due to the floods in Malawi.

Supplies for flood survivors reach the Marka Camp in Malawi. Picture: Arjen van de Merwe/Concern Universal
Supplies for flood survivors reach the Marka Camp in Malawi. Picture: Arjen van de Merwe/Concern Universal

The UK will provide more food, blankets and essential supplies for the thousands of people who have lost their homes due to the floods in Malawi, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced today. This will include food for 370,000 people and improved access to water and sanitation for 34,000 people to prevent the spread of disease.

The Department for International Development (DFID)’s £4.1 million funding is also supporting early recovery efforts to enable people to rebuild their livelihoods which have been devastated by the floods. Justine Greening said:

We are deeply saddened by the loss of life in Malawi due to the floods. The UK has been quick off the mark to deliver emergency aid so that food, cook stoves and other vital supplies are getting through to families who have had to leave their homes and belongings.

We are also working hard to enable those living in camps to return home as the water subsides, to rebuild their homes and replant the crops Malawians have lost.

The latest assessments by the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) of the impact of the floods found that 104 people have died, with 65 people injured and 172 people still missing. The number of people displaced to temporary shelters is estimated to be 230,000.

Working with UNICEF, World Food Programme, Concern Universal, GOAL Malawi and other international NGOs, UK assistance is providing:

  • food for 370,000 people;
  • emergency water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and supplies for 34,000 people, to prevent the spread of disease;
  • non-food items – like cook stoves, blankets, cooking utensils, mosquito nets and tarpaulins – for thousands of displaced families;
  • support to partners working to protect vulnerable groups, particularly women and girls, including with reproductive health interventions and action against gender based violence;
  • solar lighting in camps;
  • coordination and technical personnel to ensure that support is directed where it is needed; and
  • seeds and tools to help more than 54,000 people who had their crops washed away by the floods to rebuild their livelihoods.

DFID is working closely with partners to ensure that support reaches those that need it most, in line with the Government of Malawi’s Preliminary Response Plan. In addition, the UK is monitoring the situation on the ground so that it can respond to possible disease outbreaks.

This funding will come from DFID’s existing budget for Malawi without affecting activity in other programmes.

Notes to editors

  1. The UK has now increased funding directed to respond to the recent flooding in Malawi to £4.1 million.
  2. Some UK funds for the flood response were already prepared for this eventuality, held by the UN’s Humanitarian Fund. Other funds have been mobilised from existing DFID programmes where value for money savings have been made.
  3. In addition to DFID Malawi’s support to the floods, a number of NGOs have accessed the Start Fund, a funding mechanism for delivering rapid humanitarian assistance which is jointly funded by DFID and Irish Aid. NGOs have activated £350,000 from the Start Fund to respond to the floods in Malawi. ActionAid, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide and Save the Children are using the money to provide food and nutritional supplements, non-food items such as buckets, blankets, cooking utensils, sanitation facilities, tarpaulins for shelter, mosquito nets and other essential items.
  4. DFID continues to work in close coordination with the Scottish Government and partners including the Scotland Malawi Partnership.
  5. The UK has now allocated a total of £7.5 million to support disaster relief efforts in Malawi. Alongside the money directed for the flood response, funding is also delivering food and cash assistance for the most vulnerable households across the country.

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Published 12 February 2015