Malawi Fears Hunger as Lake Chilwa Dries

Malawi’s Lake Chilwa could dry up completely in 2013 or 2014, scientists warn. The prediction has created fears of hunger and economic ruin among the more than one million people in fishing and farming communities around the lake.

The drying of Lake Chilwa is a national food security concern. The basin is a rice growing area, and fish from the lake provide a source of nutritious protein to many rural Malawians.

Lake Chilwa

Lake Chilwa in eastern Malawi is drying up. (Photo courtesy Lake Chilwa Basin Climate Change Adaptation Programme)

Located on Malawi’s eastern border with Mozambique, Lake Chilwa is 60 kilometers long and 40 km wide (40 miles long by 25 wide).

Surrounded by extensive wetlands of international importance protected under the Ramsar Convention, the lake seasonally hosts migratory birds that fly from the Northern Hemisphere seeking to breed and escape winter’s harsh cold.

Environment News Service (

climate change lake chilwa lake drought