Press Release


14 March 2023

The United Nations commends the Government of Malawi for its leadership of preparedness and response measures and calls upon partners to step up efforts to assist people in the districts most affected by the cyclone.

(Lilongwe, 14 March 2023) In the wake of the declaration of a State of Disaster in the Southern Region by the President of the Republic of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, the United Nations in Malawi is calling for urgent coordinated support for the people impacted by the destruction caused by Tropical Cyclone Freddy.

Tropical Cyclone Freddy has created an unprecedented crisis in Malawi.

The United Nations commends the Government of Malawi for its leadership of preparedness and response measures and calls upon partners to step up efforts to assist people in the districts most affected by the cyclone.

The UN has been rapidly mobilising support to address immediate needs pending a multi-sectoral assessment. Technical and financial support provided by the United Nations to establish an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has been critical in strengthening humanitarian coordination among Government, NGO and development partners. Furthermore, several UN Agencies have deployed personnel to the affected areas to support coordination of response and assessment efforts in information management and logistics.

UN is providing critical logistical support, including transportation for search and rescue operations as well as to ferry humanitarian workers, equipment and supplies to communities that have been cut off by flooding and landslides, as well as medical supplies and equipment to improve water and sanitation infrastructure to address immediate health needs, including preventing the spread of Cholera.

Protection of the most vulnerable populations and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse remain central to the work of the UN, including in humanitarian response.  To this end, UN Agencies are providing food and non-food items such as shelter materials, tents and dignity kits to displaced people.

The UN stands with the people of Malawi and encourages national authorities, civil society, the private sector, political parties, the media, traditional leaders and religious leaders to ensure that at all times the rights and dignity of affected populations are respected.

The longest-lasting tropical cyclone on record, according to the World Meteorological Organisation, Freddy has left a trail of destruction and continues to cause extensive damage and loss of lives from torrential rains and strong winds in ten Districts, namely Nsanje, Chikwawa, Mulanje, Thyolo, Phalombe, Chiradzulu, Mwanza, Blantyre, Zomba and Neno.

Over the past three days, Cyclone Freddy has claimed the lives of more than 190 people and injured dozens more overstretching the health sector that is already overwhelmed by the worst Cholera outbreak in two decades. The full extent of the impact of the cyclone will be known when a multi-sectoral assessment is conducted.

The United Nations extends sincere condolences to the people of Malawi who have lost loved ones and property.

Ms. Rebecca Adda-Dontoh

United Nations Resident Coordinator in Malawi



Currently, 24 agencies and specialized organizations of the United Nations are active in Malawi. Through its work, the UN is contributing to ensuring a better life for the people of Malawi.


For more information, contact: Associate Communications Officer in the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, Bennet Phunyanya on or +265884307026

UN Resident Coordinator for Malawi

Rebecca Adda-Dontoh

UN Resident Coordinator for Malawi
Ms. Adda-Dontoh is the UN Resident Coordinator for Malawi since 10 December 2022. She is a peacebuilding and development practitioner with over 30 years of service in national public service, non-governmental organizations and the United Nations, focusing on fragile, transitional and humanitarian contexts in Ghana, Philippines, Nigeria, Malawi, Gambia and Bangladesh.

Prior to her appointment as United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Adda-Dontoh served for the past 10 years as a Senior Peace and Development Adviser to United Nations country teams in Bangladesh, Gambia and Malawi.
Before that, she was the Deputy Director at the Centre for National Culture in Ghana, the Conflict Prevention Programme Manager for Non-violent Peaceforce in Mindanao, Philippines; and the Peace Adviser for the German Association for Development Cooperation in Plateau State, Nigeria. Ms. Adda-Dontoh founded and led Mothers for Active Non-Violence, a women’s peace and development non-governmental organization. She also worked as a consultant with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Interior in Ghana.

Ms. Adda-Dontoh holds a Master of Arts degree in public relations and public communications from the University of Westminster, and a diploma in journalism and public relations from the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

UN entities involved in this initiative

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
World Food Programme
World Health Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative