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Humanitarian situation could worsen—Oxfam

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Charity organisation, Oxfam, has warned that the current La Niña event could worsen Malawi’s humanitarian situation.

A statement from the organisation indicate that most families affected by the current weather conditions had also been hit hard by El Nino early last year.

This, it says has pushed them “below safe thresholds in areas of nutrition and health.”

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The statement also notes that recovery from the impacts of El Nino has been slow and incomplete particularly for the poorest.

Over 6000 households in 14 districts across the country are reported to have been affected since the rainy season started.

“Heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture, livestock and fisheries remains one of the most important reasons the country is facing all these challenges as crops and livestock are susceptible to destruction whenever folds strike,” reads part of the statement.

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The statement also faults the Farm Input Subsidy Programme’s failure to reach vulnerable households in time.

Such policy failures, it says, are likely to have negative impact on agricultural production.

Oxfam country director John Makina has since called for urgency in ensuring that households vulnerability is reduced.

“We call upon the government to ensure continued functioning of critical facilities such as health, agriculture, transport, water resources and schools. Ensure effective implementation of programmes such as the Fisp to support a successful growing season,” Makina said.

Makina also called for accountability in the usage of funds received from the World Bank for Strengthening Safety Nests System Project (SSNSP) to support affected households and rebuild their assets through cash transfers and public works.

“We also urge Admarc [Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation] to commit to total transparency around locations and quantities of grain to enable the private sector to appropriately fill the gap in terms of market supply” he said.

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) is said to have allocated about K1.2 billion in respond to disasters that have occurred since the onset of the rainy season.

Dodma spokesperson Jeremiah Mphande is quoted in the media as saying the money is allocated in the contingency plan for 2016/17.

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