United Kingdom’s (UK) Department for International Development (DfID) has given Malawi £24 million (about K23 billion) as a contribution to the government’s National Disaster Response Plan, the British High Commission in Lilongwe has said .
A statement made available to Nyasa Times says the UK Development Minister Nick Hurd , confirmed the support on Wednesday during a telephone conversation with President Peter Mutharika.
The support from the UK will assist some of the 6.5 million people identified by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) food security assessment as requiring emergency food/cash assistance over the next nine months.
This is likely to be the largest international humanitarian response in the country’s history and is a result of widespread crop failure and poor harvests, exacerbated by the El Nino weather event.
In the statement, Hurd was quoted as having said: “The UK has been at the forefront of preventing and preparing for the effects of El Niño in the world’s poorest places, by getting life-saving food, clean water and shelter to people in desperate need, and by building nations longer- term resilience to cope with climate shocks.”
The statement also quoted DfID Malawi representative Philip Smith as having said: “Early and decisive action is required now to avert a larger disaster. The UK is acting swiftly to respond to the Government of Malawi’s humanitarian appeal.”
The funds are scheduled to cover activities such as nutritional screening of about 800 000 children and treatment of approximately 150 000 children, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and vulnerable adults suffering from acute and moderate malnutrition.
The aid will also support winter cropping, irrigation and early strategic maize procurement for emergency distribution and agricultural assets work.
According to the statement, a proportion will be supported to develop their agricultural and other assets in return for cash as well as sSupport to 50,000 people to build resilience through asset production over 6 months while providing cash or food.
It will also help in emergency school feeding for over 60,000 primary age children in the worst affected districts.
President Mutharika has said his government was doing everything it could to solve the problem of food shortages.
But the Malawi leader sparked anger by saying people should eat mice and grasshoppers to cope with a nationwide food crisis.
Goverment spokesperson Patricia Kaliati said Mutharika’s remarks at a political rally was a ‘joke.’
Human rights activist Billy Mayaya, who leads the Right to Food Network, took to Facebook and described the remarks as “disgraceful”.
Other social media users accused President Mutharika of being out of sync.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :