Malawi – Thousands Hit by Floods in Northern and Central Regions

Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) has reported heavy rain and flooding in parts of Northern and Central Regions, affecting over 2,000 people and damaging roads and hundreds of homes.  As many as 4 people have reportedly died or gone missing.

Northern Region

On 11 April heavy rain and flooding affected a total of 27 households in Bundi and Chankholombe areas in Karonga District.

Further heavy rain fell in the following days, which, according to DoDMA, caused “the swelling of the North Rukuru, Rufilya, Kibwe, Changwima, Kyungu, Iponga and Songwe Rivers”.

According to a disaster assessment report by the Karonga District Council “a total of 300 households have been affected in Traditional Authorities Wasambo, Mwirang’ombe and Kirupula. The affected families require immediate food and non-food assistance.”

Around 1,650 people were affected, with many of them forced to evacuate their homes and seek refuge in nearby churches, schools and community based organisations, according to DoDMA.

Local media have reported one person missing in Karonga District. Meanwhile in Rhumpi District, 3 children died after they were swept away by a flooding river, according to media reports.

Central Region

DoDMA added that heavy rain in Malawi over the last few days have damaged has damaged around 130 homes in Nkhotakota District as well as a road in the Mkaika area.

Earlier this month, storms and heavy rain between 08 and 10 April 2018 affected around 500 people (90 households) in Salima, Central Region. Local authorities said the affected households require food and non-food relief items such as plastic sheets, maize and kitchen utensils.

During that period the rain also damaged 45 hectares of crops, mainly cassava, rice and maize in Nkhata Bay. One house was completely destroyed.

Flood damage in Salima, Malawi, April 2018. Photo: Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs
Flood damage in Salima, Malawi, April 2018. Photo: Malawi’s Department of Disaster Management Affairs

Malawi To Establish A Database For Tracking Disaster Losses

Earlier this month Malawi announced plans to establish a database that will be used to track disaster losses.

The database will be developed with financial support from the European Union and World Bank under a project called ‘Building Disaster Resilience in Sub-Saharan African Region, Countries and Communities.’

Principal Secretary responsible for administration in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Cliff Chiunda, said the country has been lagging behind in conducting systematic post disaster risk assessments (PDNA) and that the establishment of the database will solve the puzzle.

“In 2015, Malawi was hit by the worst floods that affected 1.1 million people and displaced 374,000 people with 106 deaths and 172 people unaccounted for. In the following year, Malawi was affected by a devastating drought that affected over 8 million people and rendered about 6.5 million people food insecure in 24 of the 28 districts of the country.

“PDNA that were conducted after the two disaster events revealed total damages and losses of K145.6 billion and K275 billion respectively. These are the only two disaster events where government conducted a systematic PDNA. The damages and losses of the rest of the other disaster events remain unaccounted for.

“Thus, when this project is successfully implemented, Malawi will be able to track and record damages and losses due to different disasters, which will form the evidence base for various information users and decision makers. This, I am sure, will improve the national policy decisions for the disaster risk management in the country,” said Chiunda.

Flood Summary

Last updated: April 18, 2018
Northern and Central Regions, Malawi, April 2018
April 11, 2018
Flash flood
Long-term rainfall


A - Karonga
B - Rhumpi
C - Nkhotakota
D - Salima
E - Nkhata


River level
Songwe river, Karonga - April 11 to April 16, 2018
River level
Kyungu river, Karonga - April 11 to April 16, 2018
River level
North Rukuru river, Karonga - April 11 to April 16, 2018


4 people
Northern Region, Malawi - April 11 to April 16, 2018
3 deaths reported in Rhumpi, 1 missing (presumed dead) in Karonga
Karonga - April 11 to April 16, 2018
500 people
Salima - April 8 to April 16, 2018
Nkhotakota - April 11 to April 18, 2018
According to DoDMA figures