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Ten districts hit by food shortage in Malawi — WFP

Ten districts in Malawi — nine in the South and one in the Centre—are expected to receive relief food from WFP following shortages that have hit these areas due to erratic rainfall.

The World Food Programme (WFP) and three of the country’s donors—the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID), Irish Aid and the United States Agency for International Development (Usaid)—have since embarked on a Targeted Food Distribution Support Programme to the Malawi Government to rescue the more than 201 000 people expected to be affected.

In a statement released on Thursday, WFP—which is coordinating the programme—indicated that the operation will cost almost K526 million ($3.15 million) with Malawi contributing K185.9 million ( $1.11 million) and the donors meeting the rest of the cost.

"The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee [MVAC] Report for September 2011 indicated that 201 854 people in 10 districts have been missing food entitlements and require humanitarian assistance amounting to 4 829 metric tonnes of maize," says WFP.

The affected districts are Zomba, Chiradzulu, Balaka, Nsanje, Phalombe, Chikhwawa, Mwanza, Blantyre and Neno in the Southern Region and Ntcheu in the Central Region.

WFP said MVAC reported erratic rainfall and prolonged dry spells were experienced nationwide, with the Southern Region being worst hit, resulting in lower crop production in parts of the 10 districts.
The K526 million cost includes purchase of maize, pulses, oil and other associated costs, according to WFP.

About 4 829 metric tonnes of maize have been drawn from the Strategic Grain Reserves and WFP is coordinating the distribution and mobilisation of resources for the purchase of pulses and vegetable oils on request from the Department of Disaster Management Affairs.

WFP said food distribution for January 2012 was completed in Chiradzulu, Phalombe and Zomba districts whereas the process is ongoing in Chikhwawa and Nsanje.

In Balaka, Blantyre, Mwanza, Neno and Ntcheu distribution is scheduled to start this week.

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