Environment

‘Everything is changing’: the struggle for food as Malawi’s Lake Chilwa shrinks

todayAugust 30, 2021 6

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The livelihoods of 1.5 million people are at risk as the lake’s occasional dry spells occur ever more frequently

• All photographs by Dennis Lupenga/WaterAid

There was a time when the vast Lake Chilwa almost disappeared. In 2012 it had been extremely hot in southern Malawi, with little rain to fill the rivers that ran into the lake.

“Many fishermen were forced to scramble for land near the lake banks, while others had to migrate to the city,” says Alfred Samuel. “We could barely feed our children because the lake could not provide enough fish, or water for rice growing.”

An aerial view of the bed of Lake Chilwa, now covered in grass, last October

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