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Management of floods in Malawi: case study of the Lower Shire River Valley

Patrick Lumumba Mijoni (Malawi Defence Force Headquarters, Lilongwe, Malawi)
Yasamin O. Izadkhah (Socio‐Economic and Cultural Studies Department, Risk Management Research Centre, International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (IIEES), Tehran, Iran)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 6 November 2009



The purpose of this paper is to analyse some vital aspects of floods in Malawi by examining the case study of the Lower Shire River Valley. Whilst the world has many wars taking place and causing unbearable human suffering, natural disasters are also taking their toll on humanity in various ways. The threats of the flood hazard have become complex and interrelated whilst the number of the vulnerable is growing fast. Floods have not spared the peaceful country of Malawi. The whole of Malawi is virtually vulnerable to floods. However, the Lower Shire Valley has been one of the most affected parts of the country.


The paper has focused on the extent of people's vulnerability to the flood hazard and the effectiveness of its management in the area. It has duly analysed the risk reduction measures in practice and identified the various political, social, and economic factors that influence the management of floods in this valley. The study exposes the Malawi strategy towards flood mitigation as well as the situation and attitudes of the flood victims pertaining to the policies and the measures being utilised to address the hazard.


The study confirms that floods can be an issue of broad security agenda. Despite the entanglement of financial constraints, the study recommends that policy makers should make more effort to alleviate the lamentable situation in this valley.

Practical implications

It is a requisite to have a comprehensive approach and pragmatic policies as well as their implementation mechanisms. There is also a requirement for effective consultation, collaboration and coordination, progress monitoring and above all, the will.


Both the intensity and the frequency of floods are definitely indicating to be on the increase in the country while the capacity to contain them and to protect people to substantial levels is lacking. The paper indicates that the flood hazard has continuously made the habitants of flood plains in Malawi vulnerable and that the extent of vulnerability to the flood risk is very high in the Lower Shire Valley.



Lumumba Mijoni, P. and Izadkhah, Y.O. (2009), "Management of floods in Malawi: case study of the Lower Shire River Valley", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 490-503.



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