Malawi needs massive increase in food aid

Eight times as many as during the last lean season

The World Food Programme on Friday launched a massive food aid programme in Malawi, distributing the first tons of grains to some 200,000 people in the southern African nation.

“So severe is the situation that an estimated 1.6 million Malawians will need food assistance in (the) coming months, eight times as many as during the last lean season,” WFP said in a statement.

The UN’s food agency warned that 15 out of 28 districts were affected by a deteriorating situation, owing to prolonged dry spells in the country. The cost of food is seeing rapid inflation, pushing basic items out of the reach of many Malawians.

WFP warned that it was facing a funding shortfall and would need more money from donors to carry out the relief programme in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Malawi is struggling to rebuild its ailing economy, after much aid was cut during the rule of former president Bingu Wa Mutharika, who died in April.

He was replaced by his deputy, Joyce Banda, who has since revived ties with key donors, such as Britain and the United States.

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