Key facts:

Hazards covered by anticipation    

Drought | Floods | Epidemic

Anticipation partners in country    

Malawi Red Cross Society | Danish Red Cross | 510 | RCCC | Department of Disaster Management | Department of Water Resources | Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services | Department of Economic & Planning | WFP | FAO

Inform Risk Index    

Hazard and Exposure: 7.4

Vulnerability: 5.1

Lack of Coping Capacity: 5

Total: 5.8 (high risk)

Rank: 26


Photo by: Eskil Meinhardt Hansen, Danish Red Cross

Country Profile

Malawi, a landlocked country in southeastern Africa, is among the poorest countries in the world. Malawi’s economy and people largely depend on the agricultural sector and more than 80 % of the population live in rural areas dependent on subsistence farming as their main source of livelihood. Droughts and floods are the most frequent and significant hazards in Malawi posing a threat to what is mostly rain-fed agriculture. In addition to floods and drought, Malawi faces extreme heat, wildfires, cyclones, landslides, earthquakes, pest infestations, and diseases outbreaks. Environmental degradation and climate change further exacerbate the frequency and severity of such disasters in Malawi.

Severe floods and droughts in the past have degraded people’s coping capacity and stability of livelihoods. Recurring drought affects people in Malawi the most, leading to loss of crops and livestock and contributing to food insecurity as well as severe food crises. Riverine and urban flooding cause widespread damage to housing, infrastructure, and agricultural products, as well as loss of life. In 2015, economic losses due to extreme events reached approximately 10 % of GDP and led to the displacement of up to 200.000 people. 


Building Resilience and Adapting to Climate Change (BRACC)

Anticipatory action for drought is a component of the BRACC project, which began in 2018 and aims to reduce the impact of climate shocks, respond to seasonal consumption needs, support the design of social safety nets, and generate evidence and knowledge to inform government policy. The anticipatory element strives to strengthen operational system for FbF.

FAO is working to support early action for drought in Malawi.

Forecast-based Action in Malawi

Since 2017 the Malawi Red Cross, with support from the Danish Red Cross, and been working to develop an EAP for floods, in order to reduce their impact on vulnerable populations. The project also collaborates with the Climate Centre, the 510 initiative of the Netherlands Red Cross, World Food Programme, and agencies from the Malawi government.