LILONGWE APRIL 15, 2016 (CISA) – President Peter Mutharika has declared a state of disaster due to floods in most parts of the north following continuous rains for close to two weeks and worsening food shortages caused by a severe drought in most parts of the south.
“I declare Malawi [to be in] a state of national disaster following prolonged dry spells during the 2015/16 agriculture season,” the Malawian president said in a statement on April 12.
“With the increased maize deficit, it is expected that an increased number of people will be food-insecure and will require humanitarian relief assistance for the whole 2016-17 consumption year,” he added.
The President made the declaration in accordance with powers conferred upon him by section 32(1) of the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act and further stated Malawi’s maize production has dropped by 12 percent, leaving it short of about one million tonnes of maize needed to feed the population.
“With the increased maize deficit, it is expected that an increased number of people will be food-insecure and will require humanitarian relief assistance for the whole 2016-17 consumption year,” he said.
About 2.8 million Malawians – nearly 20 per cent of the population – face food insecurity, making the country one of the worst hit in southern and eastern Africa, where the current drought affects 50 million people, according to the UN.
Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Zambia are also suffering food supply problems, while South Africa has said that the recent drought was its worst in more than 100 years. In Zimbabwe, 2.8 million people – more than a quarter of the rural population – do not have enough to eat, the UN has said.
Last year Malawi was hit by drought when flooding also hit its southern region. A new drought caused by the climatic phenomenon El Nino is now wreaking havoc on the country.