During January 2015, the southeast African country of Malawi experienced above average rainfall as a result of a number of cyclones in the region. The situation on the ground in Malawi is dire. Reports suggest that 1.15 million people have been affected by the floods, of which 336,000 people displaced, 104 have died, and 172 are unaccounted for. Many homes have been made uninhabitable, crops have been destroyed throughout the country, and sanitation systems are very poor or have been completely washed away, even in relocation sites.
After an initial deployment of a five-person Disaster Assessment Response Team (DART), All Hands Volunteers (AHV) identified serious need for assistance, and a longer-term team was being deployed to help set up and manage the evacuation camps that have been put in place.
Project Malawi is a unique AHV project. Initial assessment had not revealed the traditional response work which would let them set up a project incorporating general volunteers performing manual labor to restore affected communities, as response efforts are being solely focused on emergency life-saving aid. However, these early response needs are severe, and subsequently have caused DART to be flexible in its approach and see what AHV can bring to the table in a new capacity.
This new approach resulted in three areas of immediate intervention: 1) AHV becoming the coordinating agency for the Malawi floods joint rapid needs assessment; 2) Hub coordination support for IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix; and 3) Project management oversight for GOAL’s Logistics and WASH operations in Nsanje.