The United Nation Children’s Fund (Unicef) says it requires $22 million (K15.4 billion) to respond to the hunger crisis in Malawi and has since appealed for more assistance.
In a press statement released onTuesday, Unicef says the funds will help to provide children in Malawi with access to safe water, nutrition, education, health and protection services.
“As the lean season in Malawi hits its peak, close to one million children will be affected by hunger as the country struggles to cope with the worst drought in 35 years. Despite the good rains, hunger is still widespread as families will only be able to harvest in late April,” reads the statement in part.
It says current statistics indicate that 94 percent of children aged six to 24 months are not meeting the minimum acceptable diet, while 45 percent of the households are classified as having inadequate food consumption, which means they consume limited or insufficient nutritious foods.
Unicef Malawi deputy representative, Roisin De Burca says her organisation is therefore working with partners to ensure that the rights of children in the country are not violated as they are prone to abuse under the current circumstances.
“For the past two years, adverse weather conditions as a result of the El Nino phenomenon have exposed children to different challenges. Apart from malnutrition, we have also seen a rise in the number of children dropping out of school due to hunger related issues,” she says.
Burca further said the continuing impact of the El Niño crisis and the likelihood of enhanced La Niña rains later in the season may lead to displacement of families, infrastructure damage, cholera and other disease outbreaks.