Vice-President Saulos Chilima yesterday launched the 2016/17 National Food Insecurity Response which is touted as the country’s largest humanitarian response catering for 6.5 million people in need of emergency assistance.
In the response, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) and International Non-Governmental Organisations (Ingos) consortium will be providing food assistance to the affected population in a phased approach.8
Speaking at the launch at Nyamitalala Primary School in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Mbenje in Nsanje District, Chilima said the response is a huge task for Malawi as lives of people have to be saved.
He said: “I must say that this is no kindergarten stuff. We have to work fast, smart and in a collaborative fashion to avoid losing people’s lives. I must repeat the President’s words here that ‘no Malawian is going to die of hunger’ as all the affected people will be reached in this response programme.”
Chilima said 236 000 people in Nsanje District will be reached with a mix of in-kind food and cash-based assistance in July and in August, two more districts of Chikwawa and Balaka will be picked in order to bring the number of beneficiaries to one million.
He added that in September Neno, Ntcheu and Salima districts will be included to bring the figure of beneficiaries to 1.9 million and this process will go on and on until all the affected people are reached.
But Chilima cautioned people working on the ground to make sure the response is done diligently and honestly adding that he will not tolerate any form of sabotage or laziness because people’s lives are at stake.
Earlier, WFP country representative Coco Ushiyama, whose organisation is co-leading the response, said this year, more than ever before, timely response would not only be cost effective but it will stop the wipe out of the hard won development gains be it in education or health sector.
“Providing food assistance to almost 40 percent of the national population or 6.5 million Malawians in a normal situation is already a massive challenge. To feed 6.5 million hungry Malawians at a time when there is not only national but regional food shortage as the best time to buy the food is running out is – as some say- almost an impossible feat,” she said.
On his part, representative of donor community, Paul O’Hagan, humanitarian advisor at the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID), said a people-centred response is a critical one as such government and its partners must make sure most vulnerable people are supported and benefiting in a transparent manner.
Before launching the response, the Vice-President also commissioned an Air Boat on Shire to be used by Dodma in rescue missions.
- 70 percent of beneficiaries are in Southern Region districts
- Of the 6.5 million, WFP is targeting 5.85 million with 4.76 million beneficiaries (81 percent) receiving in-kind food and 1.09 million beneficiaries (19 percent) taking home cash
- WFP’s response will last nine months and span 24 of Malawi’s 28 districts
- WFP is working with 18 cooperating partners (NGOs)
- Those receiving cash are getting K12 700 each
- The food rations comprise 25kg maize, five kg pulses (beans) and three kg soya plus cooking oil
- Pregnant women and mothers with babies are also getting Likuni Phala