Vice-President Saulos Chilima has joined calls for humanitarian assistance from the international community as the country braces for hunger which could affect more than the projected 2.8 million Malawians.
Chilima, who is Minister responsible for Disaster Management, made the appeal on Wednesday during a video conference with the United Nations (UN) office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha) in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Office of the Vice-President confirmed that Chilima participated in the video conference which was chaired by Merete Johansson from Ocha and the UN resident coordinator in Malawi, Mia Seppo but was not open to the media.
According to information sourced by The Nation, Chilima told the meeting that Malawi had a funding gap of $105 million following assistance from other partners such as Britain, Ireland, United States of America and the World Bank.
“With this support, the resource gap is now $105.52 million. I would, therefore, like to take advantage of this opportunity to reiterate the Malawi government’s appeal for humanitarian assistance,” he told the meeting.
Chilima painted a gloomy picture of the country’s food security situation which he said could be worsened by the impending El Nino which could affect the country’s rainfall pattern in the next growing season.
Press officer in the Office of the Vice-President, Pilirani Phiri, confirmed that Chilima made the appeal and outlined the government food security response.
On September 21, President Peter Mutharika appealed to local and international well-wishers to assist Malawi feed 2.8 million people following a 30 percent drop in food harvest due to combined effects of floods and drought earlier in the year.
This week, World Food Programme (WFP) told The Nation it will provide food aid to 2.4 million people nationwide, representing around 85 percent of the 2.8 million starving and in need of help.
WFP country representative Coco Ushiyama said her organisation will provide assistance to 2.4 million people while the remaining 400 000 will be covered by other partners.