Malawi economy in reverse gear over floods: Govt denies it was not prepared

Malawi government has denied that it was caught off-guard by the floods as the  agro-based economy, which had recently started showing some signs of stability, is now in reverse gear.

Minister of Agriculture , Chiyembekeza: Food shortage looming

Minister of Agriculture , Chiyembekeza: Food shortage looming

Paul  Chiunguzeni, the head of Malawi’s department of disaster and relief, rejected accusations that the country was ill-prepared, saying that it “had mixed success with the relief efforts because, in the early days of the disaster, rescue efforts were hampered by bad weather”.

He told Al Jazeera that Malawi “did not have the resources” to handle the aftermath of the massive floods.

Malawi is already in dire financial straits after aid donors withdrew 40% of their funding in 2013 because of a corruption scandal called ‘cashgate’ in the media.

Large areas in the south of the country are under water, and homes, crops and livestock have been washed away. President Peter Mutharika has declared 15 of the 28 national districts disaster zones.

The longer-term damage to  Malawi’s agro-based economy, with agriculture accounting for more than 30 percent of the country’s GDP, has been immense.

With the country’s main crops, such as tobacco and maize, damaged by flooding, the economic outlook does not look good.

According to Malawi’s department of surveys, more than 63000 hectares have been submerged by floodwaters and about 120 000 farmers have been affected, which amounts to 40000 hectares of cropland.

“This represents an expected food production loss of over 48 000 metric tonnes,” the report says. It says 221 schools have been hit by the floods.

Efforts are being made to establish temporary learning facilities for 154700 pupils and to provide them with food and clean water and sanitation services to prevent cholera outbreaks.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Reserve Bank of Malawi and the treasury had earlier forecast that the domestic economy would attain a high growth rate in 2015.

The IMF had projected that in 2015, Malawi would attain real GDP growth of 5.8 percent.

The government, according to a 2014 economic report, is also upbeat about the this year’s economic growth rate on account of higher crop production levels, the stability of the exchange rate, and the deceleration of the inflation rate.

But indications on the ground point to a different situation.

“The economy will be badly affected, but this is a situation that could not be avoided,” State Vice President Saulos Chilima told a news conference in Blantyre at which he updated the country on relief efforts. “It is a disaster.”

He insisted that initial assessments of the damage were merely estimates.

“There is a huge cost attached to this crisis… the devastation can be seen by all of us. The picture is mucky,” Chilima lamented.

Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Allan Chiyembekeza, meanwhile, warned that millions of Malawians were at risk of food shortage this year.

“We are encouraging farmers to replant crops with early maturity to at least harvest some food this year,” Chiyembekeza is quoted by Anadolu Agency (AA).

Economist and banker Thom Mpinganjira is also quoted saying that if maize is in short supply next year, it will induce “demand-pull inflation, a type of inflation arising from a situation where more people have more money to spend on goods that are in short supply on the market.”

Meanwhile, frequent and, in some instances, prolonged emergency load shedding is paralyzing the manufacturing sector.

Since the onset of the rains, large amounts of debris and trash have been washed down the Shire River, clogging intake screens in the process, according to the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM).

They are not generating any power from Nkula A and B, because machines and the entry point are all clogged with silt, trash and logs, so no water is entering the machine.

According to ESCOM CEO John Kandulu  Malawi has  lost 124 megawatts [about 35 percent] due to the floods.

Malawi’s road network is also in bad shape.—(Additional reporting by Rex Chikoko, Mal and Guardian and  AA )

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13 thoughts on “Malawi economy in reverse gear over floods: Govt denies it was not prepared”

  1. Achimidzimidzi says:

    This is need for more floods, so that people who build in prone areas should understand the point. For charcoal burners let their gardens be swept by water, so that they face hunger and appreciate the importance of conservation of trees.

    Is a big wastage of my tax on this flooding. You caused the flooding and start crying.

    We are going to face the consequences, big time.

  2. Thomas says:

    Y we worry for Flood GOD is there everything is ponsible

  3. pastor la 40 says:

    Malawi is not a godfearing country.how can you claim this country to be a dogfearing while its religious leaders are prophents for bad things????forget !!malawi were.now Is a satanic beleaving country.look at the trapese and the Mtambos.do you know what they are fighting for??those guys are there fighting in the name of freedom, Gay, prostitution, witchcraft, obscenity, rapaciousness, revening.Drinking and smoking anyhow.you can see now that if someone tries to disagree or oppose those things, you will definetely see these two ostriches demonstrating against who contradict it with the ospises from their satanic leaders.

  4. Alungwana says:

    During Dr HK Banda, people were forced to plant trees and everyone was resiponsible for the caring of those trees. Floods were not common as they are today. Unfortunately democracy has cut down all the autocracy trees and here we are. Reaforestrate please! Make Malawi green!

  5. Alufeyo says:

    Ujeni dont forget that the south hosts too many palestinans who encourage tree cutting by buying charcoal. The only way is federalism i.e. aliyense kwao. Of sorry what does federalism mean? Nane umbuli pse forgive me

  6. Fathara says:

    THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF TANEL GOD PROTECT MALAWI. MALAWI USADANDAULE WATENGA NJILA YAKU CHISOMO. ZONSEZI TIZIDUSA NDIPO KUSOGOLO KWAKEKO KULI ZOKOMA. MULUNGU AKUYAKHULAPO MAWU KWA IFE A MALAWI, TIYENI TIYANG’ANISISE, TINVESELE NDI KUGANIZA MWAKUYA. KOMA ZONSEZI KUTI KUZINVESA TIMUPEPHE MULUNGU ASEGULE NTIMA WATHU WAWUZIMU, UBONGO WATHU WAWUZIMU, MANSO ATHU AWUZIMU NDI MAKUTU ATHU AWUZIMU BASI ZIKATELO TITHA KUNVESA ZIMENE MULUNGU AKUYAKHULA. ZINA LAKE LIKWEZEKE AMEN.

  7. ujeni says:

    On ESCOM and their twin the Blantyre water board and Lilongwe Water Board, they work on reaction to faults instead of preventing the faults. Maintenance is done after a fault instead of maintenance to prevent a fault. Half-baked Engineers are not helping us.

  8. ujeni says:

    Southern Region is bare, trees have been wantonly cut down. There is massive population explotion in many villages this has lead to charcoal burning as an income generating activity.

    1. mbwaxe says:

      Yes this region has high population!! The reason is simple; anthu ake amachindana mosalekeza!!! Nyini ndi mbolo amayenda nazo mmanja!!!!!!

  9. Eliam says:

    Tizionera limodzi kuti zitha bwanji.

  10. Patriot says:

    Clueless leadership. Try and error gouvernment

  11. As a godfearing nation lets trust him. He knows our future beta dan anyone.

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