DoDMA rolls out relief food distribution as hunger situation worsens in Malawi

The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) is implementing a once-off relief food distribution exercise in all 28 districts of Malawi due to the worsening food situation in the country.

Wilson Moleni

Secretary to the Vice President and Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs Wilson Moleni said this in Lilongwe on Tuesday during a press briefing on Response Interventions to Food Insecure Households for the 2019/20 Consumption Year.

Moleni said the once off relief maize distribution is expected to be finalised within December, 2019.

He said the distribution is targeting all districts following calls for urgent relief food assistance from district councils and recommendations from the National Disaster Preparedness and Relief Committee’s emergency meeting which discussed the current food situation in the country and mapped the way forward in close consultations with the MVAC secretariat.

According to Moleni, the total maize requirements for the implementation of the exercise is 8,129 metric tonnes (162,580 bags of maize each weighing 50kg) valued at K1.79 billion

“Government, through Treasury, will provide about K622.13 million to carter for all logistical arrangements, which include targeting processes (registration of beneficiaries) and transportation, just to mention but a few. The required maize will be drawn from the strategic grain reserves (SGR),” he said.

The distribution exercise will precede the 2019/20 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Plan (2019/20 LS-FIRP) to be implemented in most of the districts to be implemented up to March 2020 as recommended by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee’s (MVAC) annual report.

The MVAC report projected that 1, 062,674 people will be at risk of food insecurity, in 27 districts of the country (except Likoma) during the 2019/20 lean season.

Following the projection, DoDMA facilitated the development of the 2019/20 LS-FIRP to mobilize resources, coordinate and guide the implementation of humanitarian assistance towards the affected people.

With regard to the 2019/20 LS-FIRP, the total financial requirements for the implementation of the programme is US$51.8 million (about MK 38.8 billion).

According to Moleni, as of 25th November, 2019, US$10.7 million (about MK7.86 billion) had been resourced, leaving a financial resource gap of US$42.7 million (about MK30.2 billion).

During the exercise, beneficiaries will be provided with either cash to purchase foodstuffs or actual foodstuffs such as maize and pulses. So far, seven districts of Balaka, Chikwawa, Dedza, Karonga, Neno, Nsanje and Phalombe have been fully resourced for cash transfers, which will be implemented by various humanitarian and NGO partners.

In the meantime, government will provide 18,680 metric tonnes of maize (373,600 bags each weighing 50kg) valued at K4.1 billion and estimated logistical costs of about K2.5 billion, towards the 2019/20 MVAC Humanitarian Response. Currently, MVAC is conducting further assessments on the food situation and will produce an updated report.

Over the past two weeks, due to worsening food situations, DoDMA has been providing relief aid in 15 districts and two cities that were affected by the March 2019 Cyclone Idai-induced floods.

Moleni said a total of 1,500 tonnes of rice (about 30,000 bags each weighing 50kg), which is part of the 6,000 metric tonnes of rice donated by the People’s Republic of China, have been distributed in areas that were affected by the floods.

Moleni commended various donor and humanitarian partners who have contributed resources towards LS-FIRP.

He, however, appealed for more support towards response interventions to food insecure households.

DoDMA has pledged to work with security agencies and all stakeholders to ensure that relief assistance reach the intended beneficiaries.

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