World Food Program (WFP) says it requires $11.5m (K8.3 billion) to continue providing assistance to Malawians who are in need of food aid.
The organisation needs the funds to provide cash transfers to hunger victims for most of February and March 2017.
Meanwhile, WFP is at the peak of the operation of reaching out to 6 million hunger victims in response to the El-Nino induced food insecurity.
According to a situation report WFP released on 9 February, the food response the organisation has conducted in Malawi has been the longest and largest humanitarian response on record.
“January marked the peak of the humanitarian response with WFP targeting 6 million people across 24 districts. With the January round of distributions, WFP has reached an estimated 4 million beneficiaries as of 30 January; this includes 5.3 million beneficiaries assisted with in-kind food and 560,000 beneficiaries who received cash based transfers. January distributions are ongoing to reach the month’s target,” reads part of the report.
The report further added that whilst providing lifesaving assistance which is paramount, WFP and partners are also prioritising complimentary productive activities and social behaviour change to help break the cycle of food and nutrition insecurity in the long run.
“The humanitarian assistance has played an instrumental role in stabilising food security situation, particularly for the most vulnerable,” the organisation said.
WFP added that continuation of support remains critical particularly during the peak of the lean season when poor households are expected to fall into emergency.
It also revealed that even with food assistance households will still face large food consumption gaps resulting into high malnutrition and extreme loss of livelihood assets.
The WFP report then noted that though maize prices have decreased nominally, the prices remain 127 percent higher than 2015 and 54 percent than the 3 year average for this time hence access to diverse food and ensuring vulnerable groups have the required nutrition is of paramount importance.
According to the report, this is especially important to those who are HIV positive and in need of proper nutrition in order to adhere to anti-retroviral treatment.
On challenges, WFP observed that some local chiefs interfere with the humanitarian nature of the response and that heavy rains, particularly in the southern region, have exacerbated challenges of weak infrastructure, hampering access to distribution points.
WFP is supporting approximately 6 million people with relief assistance in 24 districts through a combination of in-kind food, voucher and cash along with complementary recovery activities until March 2017, when the harvest is expected. An INGO consortium is reaching the remaining 700,000 people.
The affected population is nearly 40 percent of the population making it the largest response in the country’s history.
The Government of Malawi has emerged as one of the top donors to the current humanitarian response, pledging to provide cash and in-kind maize contributions valued at a total sum of USD100 million.