Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)3.20 Very lowVery high 5
Impact This measures the impact of the crisis itself, in terms of the scope of its geographical, and human effects.3.60 Very lowVery high 5
Humanitarian Conditions This measures the conditions and status of the people affected, including info about the distribution of severity.3.70 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.2.10 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.2.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
Malawi: cholera outbreak
An estimated 3.8 million people in Malawi are facing severe acute food insecurity, with the situation projected to continue to worsen after March 2023 because of high food prices, the depletion of food stocks, and the lean season (November–March). Natural hazards, disease outbreaks, and declining livelihood opportunities resulting from the impact of COVID-19 have been intensifying the food security crisis since 2019. ?
The economic situation in Malawi has also been deteriorating since 2020. In 2023 , shortages in fuel and basic items and a further increase in the prices of both as a result of soaring inflation are expected to continue affecting living standards. Several anti-government protests to denounce the high cost of living, corruption, and high unemployment rates also took place throughout 2022 and are expected to continue in 2023.
Malawi experiences frequent droughts and floods. With its economy heavily reliant on agriculture, the consequences of these extreme weather events affect the livelihoods of both rural communities and non-farm and urban households, as well as the overall economy of the country. ?
High poverty levels are driving protection concerns and affecting other sectors. More than 400,000 children have still not returned to school after the COVID-19 closures. Many are employed to help sustain the family economy. Women and girls are exposed to the risk of sexual and gender-based violence and child marriages, which are often attributed to poverty, cultural and religious beliefs, or peer pressure. ?
COVID-19 remains an immediate public health risk across the country despite the decreasing number of cases. Other disease outbreaks are also common, such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, tuberculosis, and scabies. There is also a need for sexual and reproductive health response. As at 15 January 2023, a total of 24,884 cases and 825 deaths from cholera had been recorded (3.32% CFR) . The overstretched health system and shortage of medicine and supplies are worsening the situation. An estimated 18 million people are at risk of contracting the disease, including 9.18 million children. ?
Heavy rains, strong winds, and thunderstorms have hit 24 councils in Malawi since November 2022, causing floods and incidents that have resulted in casualties and damages to housing and basic infrastructure. As at 3 January 2023, 42 people have died and 85 have been injured. An estimated 42,000 people have been affected and 37,000 displaced. Response is ongoing but with other ongoing emergencies, including cholera and COVID-19, resources may be stretched. ?
Health: COVID-19 remains an immediate public health risk across the country despite the decreasing number of cases. Other disease outbreaks are common in Malawi, such as malaria, pneumonia, diarrhoea, tuberculosis, and scabies. Response in sexual and reproductive health is equally needed. ?
Nutrition: Over 37% of children in Malawi experience stunting because of malnutrition. Undernourishment increases the risk of being affected by illnesses, especially respiratory infections. ?
Food: Food remains the highest priority for the Malawians as continued poor harvests will affect food availability and nutrition levels.?
On 3 March 2022, the Ministry of Health of Malawi declared an outbreak of cholera in the country, with the first confirmed case reported in the southern district of Machinga. The outbreak has been spreading since. As at 25 January, all 29 districts have been affected, with a total of over 30,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,000 deaths recorded with (CFR 3.3%).
The increase in cases is caused by poor food hygiene, lack of safe water, and lack of latrine coverage and usage (including the practice of open defecation). With the upcoming rainy season in November–March, the disease could spread further. Other existing public health concerns in the country include COVID-19 and polio, increasing WASH and healthcare needs and overwhelming national response capacity. ?