Recovery Collection: Malawi: Floods 2015

2015 Malawi Flood

The January 2015 rainfall was the highest on record for Malawi constituting a 1-in-500 year event. It resulted to major flooding particularly in the southern region where the districts are among the poorest in the country. The floods caused 106 deaths, displaced 230,000 people and affected more than 1 million population in 15 districts. The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment estimated damage and losses amounting to USD335 million (equivalent to approximately 5.0 percent of Gross Domestic Product) and recovery and reconstruction needs at USD494 million.

To oversee recovery and reconstruction, the Inter-Departmental Recovery Prioritisation Taskforce was established which supported the National Disaster Preparedness and Relief Committee and the National Disaster Preparedness and Relief Technical Committee. The National Disaster Recovery Framework was developed with the goal of restoring livelihoods and infrastructure following the principles of building back better and smarter, focusing on resilience, policy alignment, community participation, decentralization, multi-stakeholder engagement, integration of gender and other cross-cutting issues, building on ongoing development initiatives, and linking with ongoing resilience programs. This provided the legal framework and enabled financing instruments for disaster recovery through a risk layering approach to disaster.

Recovery activities were prioritized in the sectors that were hit hardest including housing, transport, agriculture, education, health, and water, sanitation and hygiene across several priority districts. Among the interventions that achieved some level of success are the adoption of disaster resilient designs in the investments in roads, education, and health, which has also become part of the institutional landscape; the addition of the safer housing construction guidelines to the Buildings Act, Buildings Policy, and Buildings Regulations to guide construction of public and private buildings, including health facilities; and the establishment of the Malawi Spatial Data Platform (MASDAP), an open source platform for sharing risk and hazard information.


Government of Malawi. (2015). National Disaster Recovery Framework: Malawi. Volume I: Building Back a Disaster-Impacted Malawi Better and Safer. Lilongwe: Office of the Vice President.

World Bank. (2021). Malawi Floods ERL: Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.

Items: 9
Build Back Better: Guidance on Building Flood Resistant Homes
This document is a technical guidance to support in shelter and housing for recovery efforts from the 2015 Malawi Floods.
Global Shelter Cluster
Malawi Floods and Rains Recovery Program: Floods and Rains
This case study is Catholic Relief Services' recovery program for Malawi floods and rains that occurred in 2015.
Catholic Relief Services
Malawi Floods ERL Implementation Completion Report (ICR) Review
This is a project completion report of Malawi Floods ERL project.
World Bank, the
Malawi National Disaster Recovery Framework Report 2015. Volume 1
This Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) is conducted by the Government of Malawi with technical and financial support from the European Union (EU), the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank (WB) following the floods in 2015.
Malawi - government
Compendium on Comprehensive Risk Management Approaches
This compendium contains a collection of good practices and lessons learned about comprehensive risk management approaches, taking into account the specific needs of developing countries particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage
National Disaster Recovery Framework Building Back a Disaster-Affected Malawi Better and Safer Volume II Drought
Recovery efforts defined within the NDRF are guided by a central vision and goal. An initial vision and goal were determined following the 2015 floods; these have been updated in response to the 2015/16 drought.
Malawi - government
The first edition of this quarterly series showcases a selection of four papers, which address the impacts of droughts and floods, disaster resilience, and the role of Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in disaster management
Gravitazz Institute for Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management
This brief is part of a series highlighting the World Bank's achievements in disaster risk management initiatives. It presents efforts undertaken by the government of Malawi, with support from GFDRR, the World Bank, the European Union and the UN.
Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, the
The PDNA report indicates that the Malawi 2015 floods affected 1,101,364 people, displaced 230,000 and killed 106 people. The assessment focuses on medium to long term reconstruction and provides the guiding principles for recovery.
Malawi - government Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, the United Nations Development Programme - Headquarters