This page shows the results of research carried out by Concern showing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the poorest people in our programme countries.
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In this brief, we examine the impact of the floods on some of the poorest people living in Mangochi and Nsanje; the extent of the damage caused to their households; and the warnings and type of assistance received. We also investigate differences in the impact of the floods on households enrolled on Concern’s Graduation programme.
Following a year of drought in 2018, the southern and central regions of Malawi experienced a tropical cyclone, Cyclone Idai, in March of 2019.
Our research shows that despite having greater losses, graduation households were more food secure than non-graduation households, providing preliminary evidence of a positive effect of the programme.
The research suggests the potential existence of an environmental poverty trap, where households are unable to move out of or fall back into poverty, as a result of weather shocks.
The impact of the floods were widespread affecting 82% of households interviewed, with almost all (94%) in Nsanje and seven out of 10 in Mangochi affected. Most households were likely to face damage in more than one area, with over 62% affected in two or three different ways, underlining the multiple layers of impact a shock like this can have.
Financial losses were substantial; for non-graduation households the estimated damage to their homes and other damage and losses came to MWK 144,317 – for households included on the Graduation programme, this was higher at MK 189,035. Even though Graduation households had not yet received their capital transfer under the programme, there is evidence that they have been investing their monthly income support on a variety of productive and domestic assets, leaving them with a higher asset ownership and more to lose.
There were also significant impacts on households' food security observed; amongst non-graduation households, those affected by the flood were considered more food insecure, with graduation households being more food secure, irrespective of whether they were affected by the floods or not, providing preliminary evidence of a positive effect of the programme. Less than half (49.6%) of households across the two districts received some form of early warning. While the research did find some preliminary evidence of targeting, less than a quarter affected by the floods received any assistance.
In terms of the way ahead, our early research results suggest the need for:
While the research has been supported by the Irish Government all opinions expressed are those of the authors. The views expressed herein should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of the Irish Government.
The Impact of Cyclone Idai on the Poorest 2020|PDF(765 KB)