Published on October 6, 2023
Malawi was ravaged by the month-long Cyclone Freddy, which caused widespread devastation and death. The Lake Chilwa basin settlements in south-eastern Malawi remain flooded following severe rains, posing higher risks from infectious diseases such as malaria, schistosomiasis, and cholera. Crop damage caused by the tropical storm has further aggravated malnutrition.
In August 2023, our MHICCM team held our final in-country workshop in Zomba, Malawi. The objectives of this workshop were to:
- Visit the basin to document damage caused by Cyclone Freddy
- Fill identified gaps in health data
- Finalize research outputs and develop delivery timeline
- Establish new relationships for future partnerships
This was our second in-person and on-site meeting. From August 17 to August 25, we conducted drone mapping surveys in the Chilwa and Likangala river basins, met with numerous ministry officials in Zomba, Lilongwe, and Blantyre about health data, strengthened existing partnerships with the University of Malawi leadership, and formed new relationships with three local non-profit organizations. We also organized a two-day joint symposium with Indabax Malawi and the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and STEM (CAIST) at the Malawi University of Science and Technology in Blantyre, Malawi.
The participants included:
- Faculty: Dr. James Orbinski, Principal Investigator (PI) (Dahdaleh Institute); Dr. Sosten Chiotha, Co-PI & LEAD Regional Program Director; Dr. Richard Matthew (UCI), Advisor-Climate Change policy; Dr. Ali Asgary (York University), Advisor-Agent-based Modelling
- Research fellows: Dr. Jochen Schubert, Researcher (UCI); Dr. Mohammadali Tofighi, Postdoctoral Fellow (DI); Dr. James Chirombo, Global Health Fellow; Patrick Likongwe, Research Fellow (LEAD)
- Graduate students: Nilanjana Ganguli, Project Manager & PhD student (York University); Ann Jacee Le, PhD Candidate (UCI)
- By invitation: Vanessa van Schoor, Consultant; Sphiwe Nyalugwe, LEAD Community Engagement Officer
Workshop agenda and description of activities:
Day 1: Site visit to Lake Chilwa and Likangala irrigation schemes and round-table meeting with the University of Malawi Leadership
Day 2: Site visit to Chiradzulu where a devastating landslide triggered by Cyclone Freddy swept up the entire village. Dr. Ali Asgary led a small team that undertook a drone survey to build a high-quality 3D model of the site in order to create a virtual reality (VR) simulation of the landslide region. This VR model will be used to create numerous landslide scenarios based on the landslide/mudslide occurrences that occurred in this area during Cyclone Freddy. The VR application can be used for public education about landslide hazards and their impacts, as well as emergency management exercises as a visualization tool in the disaster and emergency management field. A prototype version of this VR application was presented at the "Climate Change, Extreme Events, Public Health & Resettlement in Malawi: Public, Policy, Science & Technology Perspectives, Leveraging Deep Learning and Data Science Solutions" joint symposium in Blantyre (see below).
Drone survey at the Chiradzulu landslide Drone survey at the Chiradzulu landslide
Day 3: Meeting with Ministry of Health, Malawi Red Cross, Ministry of Water and Sanitation and Ministry of Nutrition & Agricultural Extension Services in Lilongwe
Group photo with the Malawi Red Cross in Lilongwe Meeting with the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) in Blantyre Meeting at the National Statistics Office in Zomba, Malawi Meeting with the Malawi Ministry of Nutrition and Agricultural Extension Services in Lilongwe
Day 4: Writing Workshop
Day 5: Partnership engagement with local NGOs: Youth Net and Counselling (YONECO); Art & Global Health Center Africa (ARTGlo) and Chanco Community Radio.
Day 6: Climate Change, Extreme Events, Public Health & Resettlement in Malawi: Public, Policy, Science & Technology Perspectives, Leveraging Deep Learning and Data Science Solutions Joint Symposium with Indabax Malawi & Center for Artificial Intelligence and STEM (CAIST) at the Malawi University of Science and Technology in Blantyre.
Group photo at the joint relocation symposium in Blantyre. Dr. Jochen Schubert & Dr. Mohammadali Tofighi presenting on “Computer Modelling in the Assessment of the Health Impacts of Climate Change in Malawi” at the Blantyre symposium Dr. Ali Asgary chairing a session on Day 1 of the Joint relocation symposium. Prof. Amelia Taylor, Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) opening the joint symposium. Dr. Sosten Chiotha, Regional Director of the Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Southern and Eastern Africa and Co-PI on the MHICCM project introducing the MHICCM project. Dr. James Orbinski presenting the main principles of our Wellcome Trust-funded project titled "Complex Adaptive Modelling of the Health Impacts of Climate Change in Malawi." Richard Matthew, Director of the Blum Center for Poverty Alleviation, Professor at the University of California, Irvine and co-PI, MHICCM project presenting on the critical need for holistic system-based modelling approaches to prevent maladaptation.
|Global Health & Humanitarianism
Complex Adaptive Modelling of the Health Impacts of Climate Change in Malawi | Project, Research
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