UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction


Extreme weather, intra-household resource allocation and post-disaster needs assessment

A two-year project using Malawi as a case study to look at extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, and resource allocation. 

Flooded house in Malawi

4 March 2024

This project uses the case of Malawi to look at two key issues pertaining to extreme weather events such as droughts and floods and resource allocation. The first is how extreme weather can change the way resources (in terms of time and money) are allocated between boys and girls within a household, using the case of schooling.  The second is how post-disaster resource allocation (in terms of monetary transfers) may be improved using administrative data.

The challenge

Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more intense in recent years. Do such events exacerbate existing inequalities and/or create new inequalities, especially in terms of household level bargaining and within household distribution of resources?  Are there systematic patterns emerging in how new inequalities (if they exist) affect children and adolescents by gender? A slightly different issue is how aid and financial transfers are allocated in the immediate aftermath of such events by international organisations. Post-disaster needs assessments of countries such as Malawi usually base decision on ad-hoc sources of data often reflecting power dynamics.  Is there a way of improving post disaster needs assessment based on administrative data? This project investigates this issue based on the case of Malawi, that has seen several extreme weather events in the past decade. 


The project aims to answer the following questions:

  • Do droughts and floods create new inequalities in intrahousehold resource allocation?
  • How can post-disaster needs assessments can be improved? using the case of Cyclone Freddy (2023) and the Unified Beneficiary Register data.

Project duration: 24 months from July 2023.

Principal Investigator: Dr Rozana Himaz, UCL IRDR

Co-Investigators: Dr. Mohammed Shamsudduha (UCL IRDR), Sanna Djurhuus (Ministry of Justice, The Government of Faroe Islands; Red Cross Malawi 2022-2024)

Image: Destroyed houses in Nsanje district, Malawi, by Chance Muwama, Malawi Red Cross Society (with permission)