Governments of Norway and Iceland have donated $4.1 million (about K4.2 billion) to the World Food Programme (WFP) to help thousands of people facing severe hunger at the peak of the lean season in Malawi.
In a statement on Wednesday, WFP says the joint contribution – comprised of $3.6 million from Norway and $500,000 from Iceland – will be used for providing critical humanitarian assistance to 270,000 people through cash-based transfers in the districts of Balaka and Chikwawa, where smallholder farmers have been heavily affected by climate shocks and rising food prices.
About 3.8 million people are estimated to be acutely food insecure and in need of food assistance between October 2022 and March 2023, according to the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification report, which represents over 130 percent increase compared to the same time last year.
WFP Country Director for Malawi Paul Turnbull has since commended the governments of Norway and Iceland for their strong commitment to ensuring the food security of vulnerable people.
“As world leaders and experts meet at CoP [Conference of the Parties] 27 in Egypt, we must highlight the urgent need to help communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis and invest in durable solutions,” Turnbull said.
Malawi has been heavily impacted by the global food crisis where the devastating effects of natural disasters have been exacerbated by rising prices of food, energy and fertilisers caused in part by the conflict in Ukraine.
Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi Ingrid Marie Mikelsen reiterated her government’s commitment to ensuring that Malawians are food secure.
“Norway recognises the long-standing expertise of WFP and other players to provide essential and opportune assistance in times like these to ensure more people do not slip into hunger,” Mikelsen said.
Coordinated interventions will ensure the most effective and wide-reaching response possible, thanks to resources mobilised by the Government of Malawi, humanitarian and development partners.
Iceland Embassy Head of Mission in Malawi Inga Dóra Pétursdóttir said the country remains steadfast in its support to vulnerable Malawians at risk of facing hunger.
“The increasing risk of climatic shocks worsens a vicious cycle of food insecurity, which is why Iceland partnered WFP to help vulnerable families mitigate and manage the impacts of these shocks,” Pétursdóttir said.
Commissioner for Disasters Charles Kalemba said Malawi is grateful to Norway and Iceland for their contribution to the 2022-23 lean season response.
“Their support will ensure less Malawians go hungry and that Malawi can remain focused on its development goals,” Kalemba said.