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NEW YORK (January 20, 2015) As heavy rains continue to fall in Malawi, UNICEF is scaling up its relief efforts, airlifting an initial 90 tons of supplies, as it seeks to reach those most in need. 

UNICEF is working through its teams on the ground to deliver life-saving interventions to those in the hardest hit districts of Nsanje, Chikwawa and Phalombe in the Shire River Basin. Focused on displaced women and children, UNICEF is supporting partners including the Government of Malawi, to provide clean water and temporary sanitation, monitor the nutritional status of children and treat severe cases, and distribute essential medicines for women and children.  

“After surveying the flooded districts from the air, we know that the scale of flooding is immense, and with the rains still falling, the water is unlikely to recede quickly,” said UNICEF’s Representative in Malawi, Mahimbo Mdoe. “UNICEF is focused in this initial phase on ensuring those who have survived the raging waters are supported with their essential needs such as clean water and health care.”

The 90 tons of relief supplies UNICEF is airlifting this week includes essential medicines, tents and tarps, therapeutic food and milk for treating malnutrition, hygiene kits and education and play supplies to aid children’s emotional recovery. 

Malawi, one of the poorest countries in Southern Africa, has experienced unusually heavy rains this season, leaving 200 people dead or missing and 120,000 displaced. Some are still trapped in areas surrounded by water, waiting for air or water rescue by the Malawi Defence Force. Displaced communities are being housed in schools or ad hoc camps, with a shortage of decent shelter and sanitation facilities. Rains are expected to continue until March.

“Stagnant water and poor sanitation can be deadly for young children, so we are in a race against time to reach displaced communities with clean water, sanitation and medical supplies” said UNICEF’s Mdoe.

For photos of the flooding, please visit


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) works in more than 190 countries and territories to put children first. UNICEF has helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization, by providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when no children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit

For more information, contact:

Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146,