30 September 2016 Last updated at: 6:24 AM

Malawi Hunger: WFP intensifies relief efforts

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has intensified its efforts to fight food insecurity as it is importing 55,000 metric tonnes of maize which is expected to meet the needs of up to 4.7 million people in drought affected areas of Malawi over the coming months.

This follows a major contribution of nearly US$22 million (K16.6 billion) from the government of Malawi.

Malawi hunger

Food crisis in Malawi still cause for concern. (WFP image)

The hunger response is happening following a widespread crop failure which led to a second consecutive national maize deficit and food insecurity in the country.

In response to the severity of the situation, relief operations are being scaled up to reach 5.8 million of the estimated 6.5 million people expected to require food assistance during the peak of the lean season, according to latest data from the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee.

“We applaud the government of Malawi for their continued commitment to addressing food insecurity during this unprecedented time of emergency,” said WFP Acting Country Director Mietek Maj.

He added that the contribution provides a critical boost to the maize supply which has been uncertain for the past few months and that being able to respond to people’s needs now is a vital step in protecting development gains already made and in working towards the goal of zero hunger.

The first consignment of the imported maize started arriving in the country early September from Mexico and then from Zambia, within weeks of WFP agreeing to purchase the cereals on behalf of the government of Malawi, the final shipment is scheduled to reach Malawi in October.

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