July 19, 2024

Malawi faces severe hunger crisis as 4.2 million people struggle amidst climate shocks

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Malawi faces severe hunger crisis as 4.2 million people struggle amidst climate shocks

Malawi faces severe hunger crisis as 4.2 million people struggle amidst climate shocks

Up to 4.2 million people in Malawi are expected to experience severe levels of acute food insecurity between June and September, according to a report released by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee, a multi-agency body led by the government.

The landlocked country, bordered by Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania, has been grappling with the aftermath of El Niño earlier this year, resulting in droughts and floods affecting 23 out of its 28 districts and leading to a 17% decline in agricultural production, as outlined in the report.

In 2023, Malawi produced 3.5 million tonnes of maize, the staple food, but production plummeted to 2.9 million tonnes during the 2024 harvest.

The report warns that the situation is expected to worsen by October, with food-insecure populations reaching 5.7 million people, constituting 28% of the country’s population, as Malawi enters the lean season.

The government committee has urged immediate distribution of over 261,500 tonnes of maize to vulnerable households in affected districts.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) is providing food assistance to 2.5 million people among the affected populations, stated Simon Denhere, WFP’s Deputy Country Director in Malawi.

The World Bank estimates that approximately 72% of Malawians will face poverty this year due to climate shocks, with inflation projected to average 27%.

As Malawi grapples with these challenges, international aid agencies and local authorities are working to mitigate the impact of food shortages and economic strain caused by adverse weather conditions, ensuring support reaches those most in need during this critical period.

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