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Funds urgently needed to help 6.5 million Malawians affected by drought
Oxfam welcomes the launch of the Malawi government's Humanitarian Response Plan, but says lives are still at risk unless more money is found soon.
Oxfam in Malawi’s Country Director, John Makina said: “Oxfam welcomes the government’s joint plan and commitment to provide much needed humanitarian aid to 6.5 million drought affected people for the next nine months, however we remain particularly concerned about the amount of funding currently available for the response. The plan requires US $380 million, of which only 17% has so far been secured. This is a good start, but much more is needed, now.”
“If lives are to be saved now and until the next harvest season in March 2017, the international community, donors and the Malawi government must make all possible efforts to meet people’s needs.
“The government should ensure that it is redirecting its own resources to meet as many of these needs as it can. Donors should also play their part by quickly releasing funds and committing new money to not only provide emergency aid but also to fund long-term programmes that will build on people’s self reliance and preparedness for future crises.”
Oxfam says that all efforts to provide food assistance must take into account changing food availability and market conditions. Cash transfers and vouchers should be used to help people buy food where it is available and direct food aid should be provided where market availability is limited or prices are too high.
This year Southern Africa has endured its worst drought in 35 years due to the El Nino weather phenomenon. In 2015, dry spells, high temperatures, and severe flooding in some areas of Malawi, also affected the country’s maize harvest, leaving 2.8 million people facing food insecurity.
In June 2016, the government announced that 6.5 million people would face food insecurity due to the drought, over the course of 2016 to mid-2017. Over that period, the humanitarian response plan aims to target the worst-hit districts of south, central and northern Malawi. The plan comes after the government declared the crisis a ‘State of National Disaster’ in April 2016.
Oxfam is currently providing sweet potato vines and farming inputs to over 29,000 people, with plans to expand this to a further 6000 people. We are also preparing to support a further 77,000 people with cash transfers to enable them to purchase food. In total, we aim to provide assistance to a total of 650,000 drought affected people until mid-2017. Oxfam requires further funding in order to reach all of these people.
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