Climate shocks explained

A climate shock is an unpredictable weather event that damages the sustainability of a community.

In the context of the CCPM this could be a drought, a flood, or even a bad storm or extended dry spells. As many Malawians depend directly on agriculture for their food and livelihoods, climate shocks can be especially destructive.

This is the case for the Southern Region of Malawi which is most prone to climate shock and where the CCPM is based. To date the programme has found that 98.4% of households have experienced at least one climate shock and the consequences can be awful. While the impact of a drought or flood is obvious, a prolonged dry spell can be disastrous to those without access to steady water supplies.

Participant Lucia White explained: “The shortage of rain is drying up the wells. People have to travel a long way for water. You get used to it but the rains seem unpredictable, we don’t know when they’ll come back, so the future seems very uncertain.”

Sadly as a result of climate change, climate shocks are increasing and could lead to emergency situations. Such emergencies, especially those linked to drought, can significantly impact people’s livelihood and income, undoing progress made on poverty reduction programmes.

Richard Record, World Bank Senior Country Economist for Malawi, recently said that these climate shocks are only going to increase in impact.

“It is highly likely that Malawi will continue to face weather shocks on a recurring basis. Improved economic performance is dependent on Malawi building its level of resilience to enable it to better withstand the impact of both internal and external shocks.”

By helping communities in southern Malawi to develop climate adaption techniques like ensuring a steady supply of water for farming through solar powered irrigation,  we’re helping them survive the worst of these climate shocks.