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WFP starts lean season food response

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World Food Programme (WFP) has started implementing the 2022-23 lean season food response programme as one way of easing the hunger burden in the country.

The programme’s head of field coordination Elton Mgalamadzi said on Tuesday, when WFP presented legumes and cash to beneficiaries in Waruma Village, Traditional Authority Mkhumba, that Phalombe is one of the affected districts.

The Government of Malawi started distributing its own relief food and cash to hunger stricken families at the beginning of the month.

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It is implementing the Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Programme targeting 3.8 million which Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (Mvac) said would be food insecure in 27 districts across the country.

Addressing beneficiaries of WFP’s initiative Tuesday, Mgalamadzi said they are implementing the plan in three districts.

“After the Mvac assessment, the Malawi Government and some development partners developed a response plan and WFP is responding to that plan in three districts. Across the three districts, we are supporting people with legumes and cash which, we believe, will help them during the time of hunger,’’ he said.

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WFP is supporting 363,942 people in the districts of Phalombe, Balaka and Chikwawa and the package for each family includes a 36 kilogramme bag of legumes and K17,500 cash.

One of the beneficiaries, Catherine Likhutu of Traditional Authority Kaledzera, said she and her 11 children have started feeling the pangs of hunger.

She said the food and cash package will go a long way in bailing them out of hunger.

“I am sure that the legumes and cash will take us through some days,” she said.

The Mvac integrated food security phase classification analysis for the 2022-23 lean season shows that high levels of malnutrition are likely to affect the country between October 2022 and March 2023.

Among other things, the deterioration in the food security situation is attributed to climate-related shocks, high staple food prices and economic decline.

The contributions have come from the United Kingdom government, Norway, Iceland and Japan.

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