Malawi is vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather events (EAD, 1998, 2002a, 2004). The Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment Report of 2001 (EAD, 2002b) has clearly indicated that Malawi is experiencing a variety of climatic hazards, which include intense rainfall, floods, seasonal droughts, multi-year droughts, dry spells, cold spells, strong winds, thunderstorms, landslides, hailstorms, mudslides and heat waves, among many others.
Currently, the majority of rural communities are experiencing chronic food deficits in many parts of the country on a year-round-basis owing to the effects of floods and droughts. This situation has been compounded by the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS that has created a large number of dependant orphans, and has also adversely impacted on rural household food production systems, as well as the quality of life and sustainable livelihoods.
The increasing prevalence of the recurrent floods and droughts is of major concern to the Government of Malawi because of their far-reaching consequences on food, water, health and energy. Erratic rains have resulted in acute crop failure, despite concerted efforts to improve seasonal weather forecasting at the beginning of the rainy season. Crop failure has resulted in food insecurity and malnutrition, especially among vulnerable rural communities. On the other hand, floods have resulted in the disruption of hydroelectric power generation, water pollution, and increased incidences of diseases, such as malaria, cholera and diarrhea. It is against this background that the government has put in place several policies and strategies to address the adverse impacts of climate change on food, water, health and energy, as articulated in Vision 2020, MPRSP, and the Malawi Economic Growth Strategy (MEGS), among many other documents.