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Hunger rears ugly face in Ntcheu

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As people of Sub- Traditional Tsikulamowa and Traditional Authority Phambala in Malawi’s central region district of Ntcheu wait for the government to provide them with relief food, over 30,000 people are reported to be surviving on wild tubers locally known as mpama and nyanya.

Speaking in an interview with Malawi News Agency after briefing Ntcheu District Commissioner, Harry Phiri on the situation, Group Village Head Mpochera who was accompanied by four other group village heads from the affected areas said hunger situation in the areas has worsened due to low food production during last year’s growing season.

“I can estimate that over 30,000 people are heavily hit by hunger and most of them are currently eating wild tubers,” said Group Village Head Mpochera.

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He said the tubers if not thoroughly cooked can cause death adding that he has been receiving reports of people becoming unconscious after eating poorly prepared tubers.

He said the situation has lead to increased cases of diarrhoea, theft and that most children have stopped going to school as they spend most of their time doing piece work for their survival.

“We have been waiting patiently for government to intervene, as we heard from the media that government would be distributing free food, but up now we have not yet started receiving the food,” he said, adding that the local leadership approached Member of Parliament for Ntcheu South, Damson Chimalira and Ntcheu District Commissioner several times on the issue but they never got any promising response.

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Commenting on the development, Phiri admitted to have received the report of the situation and reported the same to relevant authorities.

“I indeed have been receiving such reports from the area and other areas across the district and I have shared the reports with Department of Disaster Management Affairs and other authorities,” said Phiri.

Phiri said the concerned area is a rain shadow area and it was true that good number of households have been hit by hunger and appealed to government, development partners and non- governmental organisations to intervene.

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