United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID) has given United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) £16.9 million (about K16 billion) to tackle a drought crisis in Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
According to a statement from the British High Commission in Malawi, the grant will specifically be used for life-saving interventions to prevent the escalation of malnutrition and child illnesses or deaths in the four countries.
The statement also says the grant, which is expected to reach 3.25 million people with key information on nutrition, water and hygiene best practices as well as disease prevention, will see about 456 000 children screened for acute malnutrition and identified cases will be referred and treated.
“The timely funds from the UK Government’s Department of International Development (DfID) come as increasing numbers of children are dropping out of school due to lack of water or pressing needs at home. In addition, disease outbreaks, such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea, are reported across the four countries,” reads part of the statement released yesterday.
In her remarks, Secretary of State for International Development, Pitri Patel, said as people across the world are entering 2017, over 37 million people across Africa are without food and families are losing their homes and livelihoods as the effects of widespread drought worsen.
“That is why Global Britain is leading the response to the escalating crisis by providing life-saving food, water and shelter, and we urge others to step up to prevent people from going hungry and leaving their homes in search of food.
“Tackling the global challenges of our time such as drought and disease which fuel migration, insecurity and instability is the right thing to do and is firmly in Britain’s interest,” said Patel.
Unicef’s Eastern and Southern Africa regional director Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala said the funds provided are critical for helping vulnerable Children and their families, entering another lean season, to cope with the ongoing impacts of the chronic emergency.
“We greatly appreciate—and applaud—DfID for leading the way in ensuring that communities are significantly supported to become further resilient to the recurrent climatic crises we are seeing across much of the region,” she said.
The UK is the leading international donor for the humanitarian crisis caused by drought in Malawi and it has given over £40 million (about K36 billion) to the response so far. n