UNDP and UN Habitant in collaboration with DODMA embark on a new EU-funded project to help cities in preparing and responding to disasters

June 7, 2023



6 June 2023, Lilongwe – UNDP and UN Habitat have embarked on a two-year project titled ’Strengthening all-inclusive Disaster Preparedness and Linking Early Warning to Early Action in Mzuzu, Blantyre, Lilongwe, and Zomba City Councils,” with funding from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO).

The new project aims to enhance the capacity of city councils to prepare and respond to disasters in the targeted cities of Mzuzu, Blantyre, Lilongwe and Zomba, where close to 80 percent of Malawi’s urban population resides.

Malawi is highly vulnerable to climate hazards ranging from floods, cyclones, and droughts, resulting in significant loss of lives and livelihood assets in urban and rural areas. Urban  areas have recently experienced  high-intensity disasters, including floods, heavy rains, and strong winds. 

In March 2023, Malawi was also severely affected by Tropical Cyclone Freddy,  which affected more than 2.5 million people, creating more challenges in the cities’ socioeconomic infrastructures and pushing more people into poverty.

To date, disaster management efforts in Malawi have predominantly focused on rural areas, with urban areas receiving less attention and funding. Although only about 17 percent of Malawians live in urban areas, the population is projected to double by 2050.  Therefore,  it is critical to strengthen disaster risk management arrangements in the urban areas. 

The new project that is valued at 1.85 million USD, will also ensure that immediate and lifesaving needs of vulnerable people affected by disasters in the targeted cities are timely addressed.

“Although we cannot control the occurrences of natural hazards, it is possible to reduce its impact and ensure that livelihoods are protected using inclusive disaster preparedness strategies that leave no one behind. This new collaboration, therefore, provides more opportunities in helping the people of Malawi that may not have been possible if we were working in isolation,” said UNDP Malawi Resident Representative. Mr. Shigeki Komatsubara.

The project implementation period if from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2024. Some of the activities that the project will undertake include: 

  • Training of key stakeholders, including government officials and city residents, to strengthen protection mechanisms

  • Developing, adapting, and testing multi-hazard contingency plans for the cities, like evacuation routes

  • Establishing automated community-based early warning systems and a mobile application for dissemination of warnings.

  • Clearing solid waste in drainage networks and rehabilitating drainage networks 

For more information, contact UNDP Malawi Communications comms.support.mw@undp.org


UNDP works in over 170 countries and territories, helping to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, and build resilience to crises and shocks. 

To help in building the resilience of communities at risk of natural disasters, UNDP Malawi is investing in mitigation and preparedness interventions through the construction of flood mitigation structures; provision of effective early warning systems; restoring ecosystems; enhancing agricultural production and other Disaster Risk Response systems.

To learn more about UNDP’s work, please visit www.undp.org/malawi