A woman in Malawi demonstrates how she uses irrigation techniques to water her crops
A woman in Malawi demonstrates how she uses irrigation techniques to water her crops
USAID/Helen Ho

Latest Malawi Map

Key Developments

Prolonged dry spells and erratic rainfall—exacerbated by the 2015/2016 El Niño climatic event—have resulted in drought conditions and extensive agricultural losses in central and southern Malawi. As a result, approximately 2.8 million people in Malawi required emergency food assistance due to drought-related food insecurity as of March 2016, according to the UN. The USAID-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network anticipates that needs are likely to increase significantly during the 2016/2017 August-to-March lean season. The Government of the Republic of Malawi declared a national state of emergency due to the drought and requested international assistance in mid-April.

On April 21, U.S. Ambassador Virginia E. Palmer declared a disaster due to the effects of drought in Malawi. In response, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance provided $50,000 through USAID/Malawi to Catholic Relief Services to support agricultural interventions in drought-affected communities.

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA)  is responding to a regional drought in Southern Africa. Please visit our webpage for additional information.


Malawi experiences a variety of natural disasters, including cyclones, cylical drought, earthquakes, flooding, and severe storms. In addition, vulnerable populations experience recurring food insecurity. USAID/OFDA’s strategy in Malawi includes responding to urgent humanitarian needs while also supporting disaster risk reduction (DRR) initiatives which strengthen the resilience of communities. USAID/OFDA DRR programs include activities that promote conservation agriculture, the use of flood- and drought-tolerant seeds, and train local and national authorities in disaster response management.

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Last updated: April 27, 2016

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