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International Recovery Platform

Impact of Cyclone Idai on the poorest in Malawi

In this brief, we examine the impact of the floods on some of the poorest people living in Mangochi and Nsanje; the extent of the damage caused to their households; and the warnings and type of assistance received. We also investigate differences in the impact of the floods on households enrolled on Concern's Graduation programme. Following a year of drought in 2018, the southern and central regions of Malawi experienced a tropical cyclone, Cyclone Idai, in March of 2019. Our research shows that despite having greater losses, graduation households were more food secure than non-graduation households, providing preliminary evidence of a positive effect of the programme. The research suggests the potential existence of an environmental poverty trap, where households are unable to move out of or fall back into poverty, as a result of weather shocks.

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