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Malawi needs K73 billion for food crisis—WFP

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The World Food Programme (WFP) has said that Malawi needs $100 million (about K73 billion) to fully meet the country’s humanitarian needs in the wake of the current hunger crisis.

WFP Deputy Country Representative, Mister Maj, said this yesterday in Blantyre at a ceremony marking the arrival of maize purchased by his organisation on behalf of the Malawi Government.

Currently, government through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs has invested $22 million (abou K16 billion) to import 55,000 metric tonnes of maize from Zambia and Mexico which is expected to meet the needs of up to 4.7 million people.

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The government is also expected to release an additional sum of $8.6 million (K6.2 billion) for the importation of maize apart from the 60,000 metric tonnes it recently released from its strategic grain reserves.

But Maj says extra funds amounting to $100 million are still needed to purchase essential non maize commodities and for cash-based assistance.

“We appreciate the contributions from various partners, however, significant funding gaps still remain as we require approximately $100 million to fully meet the humanitarian needs of the Malawian people,” he said.

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Maj also said much of the extra financial resources would go towards meeting the nutritional needs of pregnant women and under five-children.

“Our joint commitment to meeting all humanitarian needs of Malawians remains as important as ever, but looking ahead, this commitment will shift towards recovery and resilience,” he said.

Commissioner for Disaster Management and Secretary in the Office of the Vice Presdient, Ben Botolo, said the maize will meet the needs of 4.7 million Malawians across the 19 affected districts for the two months of the current relief response.

Part of the 55 metric tonnes started arriving in the country on September 9 this year and the last consignment is expected to be delivered before end of next month.

Malawi has been badly hit by two years of drought, most recently as a result of one of the worst El Nino weather phenomenon in decades.

Widespread crop failure has led to a second consecutive national maize deficit and the worst food insecurity in living memory.

The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee estimates that 6.5 million Malawians will require food assistance during the peak of the lean season. The response is expected to reach 5.8 million of this population.

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