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Africa :: MALAWI
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MALAWI
  • Introduction :: MALAWI

  • Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. After three decades of one-party rule under President Hastings Kamuzu BANDA, the country held multiparty presidential and parliamentary elections in 1994, under a provisional constitution that came into full effect the following year. President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA, elected in 2004 after a failed attempt by the previous president to amend the constitution to permit another term, struggled to assert his authority against his predecessor and subsequently started his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party in 2005. MUTHARIKA was reelected to a second term in 2009. He oversaw some economic improvement in his first term, but was accused of economic mismanagement and poor governance in his second term. He died abruptly in 2012 and was succeeded by vice president, Joyce BANDA, who had earlier started her own party, the People's Party. MUTHARIKA's brother, Peter MUTHARIKA, defeated BANDA in the 2014 election. Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the scourge of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi.
  • Geography :: MALAWI

  • Southern Africa, east of Zambia, west and north of Mozambique
    13 30 S, 34 00 E
    Africa
    total: 118,484 sq km
    land: 94,080 sq km
    water: 24,404 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 100
    slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
    total: 2,857 km
    border countries (3): Mozambique 1,498 km, Tanzania 512 km, Zambia 847 km
    0 km (landlocked)
    none (landlocked)
    sub-tropical; rainy season (November to May); dry season (May to November)
    narrow elongated plateau with rolling plains, rounded hills, some mountains
    mean elevation: 779 m
    elevation extremes: lowest point: junction of the Shire River and international boundary with Mozambique 37 m
    highest point: Sapitwa (Mount Mlanje) 3,002 m
    limestone, arable land, hydropower, unexploited deposits of uranium, coal, and bauxite
    agricultural land: 59.2%
    arable land 38.2%; permanent crops 1.4%; permanent pasture 19.6%
    forest: 34%
    other: 6.8% (2011 est.)
    740 sq km (2012)
    NA
    deforestation; land degradation; water pollution from agricultural runoff, sewage, industrial wastes; siltation of spawning grounds endangers fish populations
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
    landlocked; Lake Nyasa, some 580 km long, is the country's most prominent physical feature; it contains more fish species than any other lake on earth
  • People and Society :: MALAWI

  • 18,570,321
    note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    noun: Malawian(s)
    adjective: Malawian
    Chewa 34.7%, Lomwe 19.1%, Yao 13.4%, Ngoni 11.8%, Tumbuka 9.4%, Sena 3.6%, Tonga 1.8%, Nyanja 1.1%, Nkhonde 0.8%, other 1.8% (2015 est.)
    English (official), Chichewa (common), Chinyanja, Chiyao, Chitumbuka, Chilomwe, Chinkhonde, Chingoni, Chisena, Chitonga, Chinyakyusa, Chilambya
    Protestant 26.9%, Catholic 18.1%, other Christian 41.9%, Muslim 12.5%, other 0.1%, none 0.5% (2015 est.)
    Malawi has made great improvements in maternal and child health, but has made less progress in reducing its high fertility rate. In both rural and urban areas, very high proportions of mothers are receiving prenatal care and skilled birth assistance, and most children are being vaccinated. Malawi’s fertility rate, however, has only declined slowly, decreasing from more than 7 children per woman in the 1980s to about 5.5 today. Nonetheless, Malawians prefer smaller families than in the past, and women are increasingly using contraceptives to prevent or space pregnancies. Rapid population growth and high population density is putting pressure on Malawi’s land, water, and forest resources. Reduced plot sizes and increasing vulnerability to climate change, further threaten the sustainability of Malawi’s agriculturally based economy and will worsen food shortages. About 80% of the population is employed in agriculture.
    Historically, Malawians migrated abroad in search of work, primarily to South Africa and present-day Zimbabwe, but international migration became uncommon after the 1970s, and most migration in recent years has been internal. During the colonial period, Malawians regularly migrated to southern Africa as contract farm laborers, miners, and domestic servants. In the decade and a half after independence in 1964, the Malawian Government sought to transform its economy from one dependent on small-scale farms to one based on estate agriculture. The resulting demand for wage labor induced more than 300,000 Malawians to return home between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s. In recent times, internal migration has generally been local, motivated more by marriage than economic reasons.
    0-14 years: 46.53% (male 4,299,076/female 4,341,129)
    15-24 years: 20.49% (male 1,889,240/female 1,915,843)
    25-54 years: 27.26% (male 2,512,247/female 2,549,766)
    55-64 years: 3.03% (male 268,691/female 294,713)
    65 years and over: 2.69% (male 220,608/female 279,008) (2016 est.)
    population pyramid:
    total dependency ratio: 94.5
    youth dependency ratio: 87.9
    elderly dependency ratio: 6.7
    potential support ratio: 14.9 (2015 est.)
    total: 16.5 years
    male: 16.3 years
    female: 16.6 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 226
    3.32% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    41.3 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 7
    8.1 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 94
    0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 91
    urban population: 16.3% of total population (2015)
    rate of urbanization: 3.77% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
    LILONGWE (capital) 905,000; Blantyre-Limbe 808,000 (2015)
    at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
    18.9 years
    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29 (2010 est.)
    634 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 24
    total: 44.8 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 51.5 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 38 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 44
    total population: 61.2 years
    male: 59.2 years
    female: 63.2 years (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 197
    5.54 children born/woman (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 8
    58.6% (2013)
    11.4% of GDP (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 35
    0.02 physicians/1,000 population (2009)
    1.3 beds/1,000 population (2011)
    improved:
    urban: 95.7% of population
    rural: 89.1% of population
    total: 90.2% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 4.3% of population
    rural: 10.9% of population
    total: 9.8% of population (2015 est.)
    improved:
    urban: 47.3% of population
    rural: 39.8% of population
    total: 41% of population
    unimproved:
    urban: 52.7% of population
    rural: 60.2% of population
    total: 59% of population (2015 est.)
    9.11% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    976,300 (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 10
    26,700 (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 11
    degree of risk: very high
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
    vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever
    water contact disease: schistosomiasis
    animal contact disease: rabies (2016)
    4.3% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    16.7% (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    5.6% of GDP (2015)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write
    total population: 65.8%
    male: 73%
    female: 58.6% (2015 est.)
    total: 11 years
    male: 11 years
    female: 11 years (2011)
    total number: 993,318
    percentage: 26% (2006 est.)
    total: 8.6%
    male: 9.1%
    female: 8.2% (2013 est.)
  • Government :: MALAWI

  • conventional long form: Republic of Malawi
    conventional short form: Malawi
    local long form: Dziko la Malawi
    local short form: Malawi
    former: British Central African Protectorate, Nyasaland Protectorate, Nyasaland
    etymology: named for the East African Maravi kingdom of the 16th century; the word "maravi" means "fire flames"
    presidential republic
    name: Lilongwe
    geographic coordinates: 13 58 S, 33 47 E
    time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    28 districts; Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Chitipa, Dedza, Dowa, Karonga, Kasungu, Likoma, Lilongwe, Machinga, Mangochi, Mchinji, Mulanje, Mwanza, Mzimba, Neno, Ntcheu, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Ntchisi, Phalombe, Rumphi, Salima, Thyolo, Zomba
    6 July 1964 (from the UK)
    Independence Day (Republic Day), 6 July (1964)
    previous 1953 (preindependence), 1966; latest drafted January to May 1994, approved 16 May 1994, entered into force 18 May 1995; amended several times, last in 2013 (2017)
    mixed legal system of English common law and customary law; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court of Appeal
    accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Malawi
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years
    18 years of age; universal
    chief of state: President Arthur Peter MUTHARIKA (since 31 May 2014); Vice President Saulos CHILIMA (since 31 May 2014); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government
    head of government: President Arthur Peter MUTHARIKA (since 31 May 2014); Vice President Saulos CHILIMA (since 31 May 2014)
    cabinet: Cabinet named by the president
    elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 20 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019)
    election results: Peter MUTHARIKA elected president; percent of vote - Peter MUTHARIKA (DPP) 36.4%, Lazarus CHAKWERA (MCP) 27.8%, Joyce BANDA (PP) 20.2%, Atupele MULUZI (UDF) 13.7%, other 1.9%
    description: unicameral National Assembly (193 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)
    elections: last held on 20-22 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019)
    election results: percent of vote by party - DPP 22.0%, MCP 17.4%, PP 18.5%, UDF 9.6%, other 2.8%, independent 29.7%; seats by party - DPP 51, MCP 48, PP 26, UDF 14, other 2, independent 52
    highest court(s): Supreme Court of Appeal (consists of the chief justice and at least 3 judges)
    judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president and confirmed by the National Assembly; other judges appointed by the president upon recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, which regulates judicial officers; judges serve until age 65
    subordinate courts: High Court; magistrate courts; Industrial Relations Court; district and city traditional or local courts
    Alliance for Democracy or AFORD [Godfrey SHAWA]
    Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [Peter MUTHARIKA]
    Malawi Congress Party or MCP [Lazarus CHAKWERA]
    People's Party or PP [Joyce BANDA]
    United Democratic Front or UDF [Atupele MULUZI]
    Council for NGOs in Malawi or CONGOMA (human rights, democracy, and development)
    Human Rights Consultative Committee or HRCC (human rights)
    Malawi Economic Justice Network or MEJN (pro economic growth, development, government accountability)
    Malawi Law Society (an umbrella organization of all lawyers in Malawi)
    Public Affairs Committee or PAC (promotes democracy, development, peace and unity)
    ACP, AfDB, AU, C, CD, COMESA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINURSO, MONUSCO, NAM, OPCW, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNISFA, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
    chief of mission: Ambassador Edward Yakobe SAWERENGERA (since 16 September 2016)
    chancery: 2408 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
    telephone: [1] (202) 721-0270
    FAX: [1] (202) 721-0288
    chief of mission: Ambassador Virginia E. PALMER (since 5 February 2015)
    embassy: 16 Jomo Kenyatta Road, Lilongwe 3
    mailing address: P.O. Box 30016, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
    telephone: [265] (1) 773-166
    FAX: [265] (1) 770-471
    three equal horizontal bands of black (top), red, and green with a radiant, rising, red sun centered on the black band; black represents the native peoples, red the blood shed in their struggle for freedom, and green the color of nature; the rising sun represents the hope of freedom for the continent of Africa
    lion; national colors: black, red, green
    name: "Mulungu dalitsa Malawi" (Oh God Bless Our Land of Malawi)
    lyrics/music: Michael-Fredrick Paul SAUKA
    note: adopted 1964
  • Economy :: MALAWI

  • Landlocked Malawi ranks among the world's most densely populated and least developed countries. The country’s economic performance has historically been constrained by policy inconsistency, macroeconomic instability, limited connectivity to the region and the world, and poor health and education outcomes that limit labor productivity. The economy is predominately agricultural with about 80% of the population living in rural areas. Agriculture accounts for about one-third of GDP and 90% of export revenues. The performance of the tobacco sector is key to short-term growth as tobacco accounts for more than half of exports.
    The economy depends on substantial inflows of economic assistance from the IMF, the World Bank, and individual donor nations. In 2006, Malawi was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries program. Between 2005 and 2009 Malawi’s government exhibited improved financial discipline under the guidance of Finance Minister Goodall GONDWE and signed a three-year IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility worth $56 million. The government announced infrastructure projects that could yield improvements, such as a new oil pipeline for better fuel access, and the potential for a waterway link through Mozambican rivers to the ocean for better transportation options.
    Since 2009, however, Malawi has experienced some setbacks, including a general shortage of foreign exchange, which has damaged its ability to pay for imports, and fuel shortages that hinder transportation and productivity. In October 2013, the African Development Bank, the IMF, several European countries, and the US indefinitely froze $150 million in direct budgetary support in response to a high level corruption scandal, called “Cashgate,” citing a lack of trust in the government’s financial management system and civil service. Most of the frozen donor funds — which accounted for 40% of the budget — have been channeled through non-governmental organizations in the country. The government has failed to address barriers to investment such as unreliable power, water shortages, poor telecommunications infrastructure, and the high costs of services.
    The government faces many challenges, including developing a market economy, improving educational facilities, addressing environmental problems, dealing with HIV/AIDS, and satisfying foreign donors on anti-corruption efforts.
    $21.23 billion (2016 est.)
    $20.67 billion (2015 est.)
    $20.08 billion (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 143
    $5.474 billion (2016 est.)
    2.7% (2016 est.)
    3% (2015 est.)
    5.7% (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    $1,100 (2016 est.)
    $1,100 (2015 est.)
    $1,100 (2014 est.)
    note: data are in 2016 dollars
    country comparison to the world: 224
    -4.4% of GDP (2016 est.)
    3% of GDP (2015 est.)
    3.5% of GDP (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    household consumption: 75.1%
    government consumption: 17.4%
    investment in fixed capital: 11.9%
    investment in inventories: 2.6%
    exports of goods and services: 42.6%
    imports of goods and services: -49.6% (2016 est.)
    agriculture: 32%
    industry: 17.5%
    services: 50.5% (2016 est.)
    tobacco, sugarcane, cotton, tea, corn, potatoes, cassava (manioc, tapioca), sorghum, pulses, groundnuts, Macadamia nuts; cattle, goats
    tobacco, tea, sugar, sawmill products, cement, consumer goods
    4% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 55
    5.747 million (2007 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 71
    agriculture: 90%
    industry and services: 10% (2003 est.)
    NA%
    52.4% (2004 est.)
    lowest 10%: 3%
    highest 10%: 31.9% (2004)
    39 (2004)
    country comparison to the world: 69
    revenues: $1.03 billion
    expenditures: $1.247 billion (2016 est.)
    18.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    -4% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 137
    61.2% of GDP (2016 est.)
    54.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 62
    1 July - 30 June
    23.5% (2016 est.)
    21.2% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 220
    15% (31 December 2009)
    15% (31 December 2008)
    country comparison to the world: 12
    44.5% (31 December 2016 est.)
    44.9% (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 3
    $550.8 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    $512.3 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    $1.481 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
    $1.2 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 165
    $711.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    $724.5 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    $753.6 million (31 December 2012 est.)
    $1.384 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.363 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 108
    -$863 million (2016 est.)
    -$533 million (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    $1.277 billion (2016 est.)
    $1.278 billion (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 149
    tobacco 53%, tea, sugar, cotton, coffee, peanuts, wood products, apparel (2010 est.)
    Belgium 16.1%, Zimbabwe 12.2%, India 6.7%, US 6.1%, South Africa 6.1%, Russia 5.7%, Germany 4.7% (2015)
    $2.578 billion (2016 est.)
    $2.607 billion (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    food, petroleum products, semi-manufactures, consumer goods, transportation equipment
    South Africa 26%, China 17.5%, India 12.6%, Zambia 7.6%, Tanzania 6.3% (2015)
    $605.9 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    $693.1 million (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    $1.921 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    $1.715 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    $NA
    $NA
    Malawian kwachas (MWK) per US dollar -
    671.6 (2016 est.)
    499.6 (2015 est.)
    499.6 (2014 est.)
    424.9 (2013 est.)
    249.11 (2012 est.)
  • Energy :: MALAWI

  • population without electricity: 14,900,000
    electrification - total population: 9%
    electrification - urban areas: 32%
    electrification - rural areas: 4% (2013)
    2.1 billion kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    1.9 billion kWh (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 148
    0 kWh (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 162
    400,000 kW (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
    0.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 211
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 110
    99.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 5
    0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 147
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 157
    7,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 164
    0 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 167
    6,843 bbl/day (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    0 cu m (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 214
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    1.9 million Mt (2013 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 150
  • Communications :: MALAWI

  • total subscriptions: 45,678
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    total: 6.116 million
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 34 (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 117
    general assessment: rudimentary; one fixed-line and two mobile-cellular operators govern the market
    domestic: limited fixed-line subscribership of about 1 per 100 households; mobile-cellular services are expanding but network coverage is limited and is based around the main urban areas; mobile-cellular subscribership about 45 per 100 households
    international: country code - 265; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean, 1 Atlantic Ocean) (2016)
    radio is the main broadcast medium; privately owned Zodiak radio has the widest national broadcasting reach, followed by state-run radio; numerous private and community radio stations broadcast in cities and towns around the country; the largest TV network is government-owned, but at least 4 private TV networks broadcast in urban areas; relays of multiple international broadcasters are available (2017)
    .mw
    total: 1.67 million
    percent of population: 9.3% (July 2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 135
  • Transportation :: MALAWI

  • number of registered air carriers: 1
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 2
    annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 6,010
    annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 5,467 mt-km (2015)
    7Q (2016)
    32 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    total: 7
    over 3,047 m: 1
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
    914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2013)
    total: 25
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
    914 to 1,523 m: 11
    under 914 m: 13 (2013)
    total: 767 km
    narrow gauge: 767 km 1.067-m gauge (2014)
    country comparison to the world: 98
    total: 15,450 km
    paved: 6,951 km
    unpaved: 8,499 km (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    700 km (on Lake Nyasa [Lake Malawi] and Shire River) (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    lake port(s): Chipoka, Monkey Bay, Nkhata Bay, Nkhotakota, Chilumba (Lake Nyasa)
  • Military and Security :: MALAWI

  • 0.66% of GDP (2015)
    0.89% of GDP (2014)
    1.24% of GDP (2013)
    0.82% of GDP (2012)
    0.66% of GDP (2011)
    country comparison to the world: 104
    Malawi Defense Forces (MDF): Army (includes Air Wing, Marine Unit) (2012)
    18 years of age for voluntary military service; high school equivalent required for enlisted recruits and college equivalent for officer recruits; initial engagement is 7 years for enlisted personnel and 10 years for officers (2014)
  • Transnational Issues :: MALAWI

  • dispute with Tanzania over the boundary in Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) and the meandering Songwe River; Malawi contends that the entire lake up to the Tanzanian shoreline is its territory, while Tanzania claims the border is in the center of the lake; the conflict was reignited in 2012 when Malawi awarded a license to a British company for oil exploration in the lake
    refugees (country of origin): 11,315 (Democratic Republic of the Congo); 5,260 (Rwanda) (2015); nearly 11,500 (Mozambique) (2016)
    IDPs: 8,463 (floods in 2015) (2016)