Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) says the hunger situation is getting worse by the day and more support will be needed than initially projected.
Speaking in an interview on Friday in Mchinji where the Chinese Government donated 900 bags of maize flour weighing 25 kilogramme (kg) each and 90 bags of beans weighing 90 kg each to 450 households facing hunger in the district, Dodma commissioner Charles Kalemba said their assessment shows that household food stocks have dwindled.
He said there is need for more support to ensure that all the people facing hunger are covered throughout the lean season to March 2024.
Said Kalemba: “Although reports indicated 4.4 million people are facing hunger, our assessment shows the situation is acute.
“The food quantities that people had at the time of the initial assessment have gone down. So, there is a need for more help so that we can support the families facing hunger.”
He feared that if people are not supported, they will end up consuming all that they will cultivate in this growing season, thereby creating another cycle of hunger.
In its food insecurity response plan for 4.4 million people, Dodma secured $78 million for cash transfers to support people facing hunger.
On the other hand, Kalemba said government will provide 164 000 metric tonnes of maize.
However, he said the level of support needed was categorised into months, ranging from six months to two months.
“Some families will receive support for six months, others five months, four months, three months and two months,” said Kalemba.
He commended the Chinese Government for supporting the country in providing relief to the vulnerable facing hunger.
In his remarks, Deputy Chinese Ambassador Wango Hao said his government is working on providing more relief food to Malawi.
He said: “Our embassy is following what has been happening in the country since the beginning of this year. Malawi was struck by Cyclone Freddy and people face acute food shortage.
“We think Malawi and China are good friends and we should do our part in helping people of Malawi overcome the current difficulty.”
Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture chairperson Sameer Suleman said the committee has been warning government that the number of people facing acute hunger is high.
The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee established 4.4 people will not be able to meet their annual food requirements for the 2023/2024 consumption period.