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Ireland dispatches 58 tonnes of emergency supplies in response to severe flooding in Malawi

Budget/funding, News/feature, Ireland, 2015

Ireland will today dispatch thousands of blankets, tents, mosquito nets, soap, jerry cans and other urgent supplies to assist families affected by the recent severe flooding in Malawi, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan, TD, and Minister for Development, Trade Promotion and North South Co-operation, Seán Sherlock, TD, have announced.

58 tonnes of Irish stocks will be distributed by Irish Aid partners, Concern Universal, GOAL, Trócaire, Concern Worldwide and the Evangelical Association of Malawi. The supplies will be directed to help displaced families in the worst affected districts in the Southern Region of Malawi.  

The airlifts, worth over €500,000, will be sent from the UN Humanitarian Response Depot in Dubai, where Irish Aid pre-positions supplies for use in global emergencies. 

Announcing today’s airlift, Minister Flanagan said:

“Preliminary reports indicate that the floods have left at least 174,000 people displaced and more than 630,000 people affected overall, with their houses washed away, and their farms and livelihoods destroyed.

“Ireland’s humanitarian supplies will be distributed among affected families in Nsanje, Chikwawa, Phalombe and other Districts through Irish Aid’s partner organisations on the ground.

“Thousands of houses in these districts are submerged or completely destroyed, forcing people to emergency sites and relief centres.

“This emergency airlift will complement our long term programme of assistance managed by our Embassy which supports some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities in Malawi to cope with the effects of climatic and other shocks and works to improve food and nutrition security.”

Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for Malawi’s rural population, and with over 35,000 hectares of cropland flooded, crops destroyed and livestock dead, food production has been severely impacted. 

Highlighting the risks that the floods pose, Minister of State Sherlock said:

“There is a growing concern of the outbreak of diseases, given the poor sanitary and drainage conditions at emergency sites.   

“Rains are expected to continue for the next two months and have already severely impacted smallholder farmers’ ability to grow food for their families and their communities, as well as destroying crops and livestock.

“We are monitoring the situation closely through our Ambassador in Lilongwe, Áine Hearns. I am concerned that the situation may worsen in some areas and that the number of affected people will rise.”

Press Office
3 February 2015


Notes to Editor:

• Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas assistance programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For further information see www.irishaid.ie

• Malawi is regularly hit by flash flooding during the rainy season but this year the rains have been particularly heavy.  Unusually heavy rainstorms and severe floods have hit 15 out of the 28 districts in the country and the Government of Malawi has declared a state of emergency. 

• The flooding has affected areas along the Shire and Ruo rivers in particular.  The flooding is the worst recorded since 1964 and is consistent with growing unseasonal rain patterns, related to the growing impact of climate change.

• It is estimated that the floods have affected 638,000 people countrywide, with 79 deaths recorded and many people still unaccounted for.  Initial assessments suggest that at least 174,000 people are displaced in the three most affected districts of Nsanje, Chikwawa and Phalombe.

• Malawi is a Key Partner Country for Ireland. Key areas of focus in our programme is strengthening vulnerable communities’ resilience to the effects of climatic and other shocks, improving the livelihoods of Malawi’s poorest communities and improving food and nutrition security.

• Bilateral overseas development aid to Malawi from Ireland in 2014 was €14 million. An additional €6 million was channelled through Irish non-governmental organisations (NGOs), missionaries and other Irish agencies.    

• As part of Ireland’s Rapid Response Initiative, Irish Aid pre-positions emergency humanitarian supplies within the UN Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) Network of hubs around the globe.  These hubs are strategically located near disaster-prone areas - in Accra (Ghana), Brindisi (Italy), Dubai (UAE), Panama City (Panama) and Subang (Malaysia) - within airport complexes, close to ports and main roads.

• Irish Aid stockpiles non food items which are most in demand by people in crisis and emergency situations, including shelter and housing supplies such as tents, blankets, mosquito nets, kitchen sets, and tarpaulins, and water supply and sanitation equipment such as jerry cans, water tanks, soap, squatting plates, latrines, as well as pickaxes, spades, ropes.

• In addition to the provision of non-food relief items, Irish Aid’s programme in Malawi has allocated €250,000 to enable its partners on the ground to provide urgent food and other requirements to the flood affected communities.  

• Irish Aid has also approved the draw-down of €100,000 by Plan Ireland from their 2015 Emergency Response Fund Scheme (ERFS) funding to respond to the Malawi flood crisis. Through this scheme, Irish Aid pre-positions funds with strategic NGO partners to enable them to respond quickly and appropriately to humanitarian crises.  This disbursement will be used by Plan to provide 3,600 displaced families with locally procured food and shelter items in Mulanje district in Southern Malawi, with a strong focus on child protection.

• A further Stg£350,000 has been allocated to Concern Worldwide, Action Aid, Christian Aid and Save the Children through the joint UK /Ireland Start Fund.