International non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have welcomed President Peter Mutharika’s declaration of Malawi as a State of National Disaster, saying it is a “much-needed acknowledgement” of the scale of the problem.
Comprising Oxfam, Concern Universal, Concern Worldwide, Save the Children and Goal Malawi, the NGOs said in a statement on Wednesday the declaration should send a strong signal to donors to act quickly.
The heads of the concerned NGOs have since appealed to the international community to act swiftly and decisively on government’s declaration of emergency where people are facing worsening hunger because of El Nino related drought and nationwide crop failures.
“Yesterday’s declaration n
of emergency recognises the severity of the situation in the country. Ordinary Malawians should not have to go to bed hungry every night. All of us—government, NGOs and international donors –need to work together to ensure that everyone has access to enough food for themselves and their families,” said Oxfam Malawi country director John Makina.
On his part, Goal Malawi country director Paul Armour said climate change will make future weather events like these kinds of drought more frequent, and in the face of this—the new normal—all stakeholders must support people to build their resilience against climate shocks and weather events like El Nino.
Concern Worldwide country director Caoimhe Debarra said the impact of the El Nino will likely last until the next harvest in March 2017; hence, it is imperative to protect lives in the short-term but also find ways of ensuring that people’s resilience to devastating drought is increased, such as through climate smart agriculture.
In a national address on Tuesday evening, the President said the severe crop failure was worse in the Southern Region and parts of the Central Region. The projected drop in maize harvest stand at 12 percent of last year’s output, according to second round crop estimates.
Mutharika has since appealed for humanitarian relief assistance from the international community, relevant United Nations (UN) agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the private sector as well as citizens of goodwill to alleviate suffering among those affected.