On 15 March 2019 in Malawi, Eneless Bernard prepares a meal at Chagambatuka Primary School camp in Chikwawa as her 3 year old daughter Lincy cries in her mother's arms.
Since early March 2019, heavy rains and flooding in Malawi have caused at least 45 deaths and 577 injuries, according to the Malawi Government’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA). So far, the floods have affected over 147,000 households (more than 739,000 people) in 14 districts, displacing over 15,000 families, mainly in the Southern Region. On 8 March, the President of Malawi declared a State of Disaster in areas hit by the floods. The Climate Change and Meteorological Department predicts more heavy rains and strong winds in the south. UNICEF has stepped in to support thousands of families affected by floods in the southern region of Malawi. Preliminary estimates from the Department of Disaster Management and Preparedness (DoDMA) indicate that 93,730 families have been affected with 6,341 families displaced and seeking shelter, mostly in schools, churches and health centres. DODMA also states that 30 people have been confirmed dead and 377 injured as of 11 March 2019. With thousands forced out their flooded homes, many families lack basic supplies including food, water and sanitation facilities. The floods have also disrupted learning for thousands of children. UNICEF is working with partners to ensure that primary and secondary school classes resume as soon as possible for affected children, so that their education is not disrupted. UNICEF will provide tents and school supplies to schools and temporary learning centres and will deploy additional volunteer teachers. With over 6,000 families displaced, there are also child protection risks. UNICEF is also supporting DoDMA to assess the situation using drones. Drone acquired photos and videos of the affected area are being used to assess flood damage to buildings and fields, and to help plan the humanitarian response.