• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 12,769,000 People affected [?]
  • 5,900,000 People in Need [?]



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. ?

Latest Developments


As at May 2023, the food insecurity situation in Malawi had put over 573,000 children under five and 228,000 pregnant and lactating women at risk of malnutrition. Over 62,000 children are at risk of severe malnutrition throughout this year as a result of the environmental crisis, disease outbreaks, and global economic disruptions.

In February–March 2023, Cyclone Freddy made landfall twice and caused significant damage, including the loss of critical infrastructure and livelihoods, with 300,000 livestock and 200,000 hectares of crops being lost. The agricultural sector has been particularly hard-hit, with over 1.4 million individuals affected, of whom 280,000 are in urgent need of emergency assistance. Those who are at risk of malnutrition and have been affected by Cyclone Freddy need food, nutrition, health services, WASH, shelter, and NFIs.?



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 29 April  2023, all 29 districts have been affected, with a total of 58,673 confirmed cases and 1,758 deaths recorded with (CFR 3.0%). ?

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.  ?