Malawi Declares State of Disaster over Food Shortage

Malawian President Peter Mutharika has declared a state of disaster in many rural areas of Malawi, amid a severe drought that has left millions facing food shortages.

According to United Nation figures, about 2.8 million Malawians – nearly 20 per cent of the population – face food insecurity, making the country one of the worst hit in southern and eastern Africa.

The Southern Africa sub-region endured a poor harvest last year combined with a strong El Nino weather phenomenon, which resulted in reduced rains across the region.

“I declare Malawi in a state of national disaster following prolonged dry spells during the 2015, 2016 agriculture season,” President Mutharika said in a statement.

In his words, more people will be food insecure and will require humanitarian relief assistance for the whole of the 2016/17 consumption year.

Malawi is the second southern African country, after Zimbabwe, to declare a state of national disaster this year, while South Africa said it was facing the worst drought in 100 years.

“The situation is quite dire and we believe the worst is still to come. It will take a long time before the situations improves,” said David Orr, southern Africa spokesman for the United Nation’s World Food Program (WFP.)

The World Food Program said it was currently assisting nearly three million people in Malawi, with about 23 of 28 districts badly affected.

In neighboring Zimbabwe, 2.8 million people do not have enough to eat. The WFP is currently providing assistance for about 730,000 people.

About Geraldine Boechat 2074 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia