Malawi launches biggest food response for starving 6.5 million people: VP Chilima talks tough

Malawi Vice president Saulosi Chilima on Thursday kicked off the distribution of relief food to starving 6.5 million people hit hard by natural calamities.

Malawi VP Saulos Chilima said the rescue operation had been hampered by poor weather in the past few days and the difficulty of finding places for helicopters to land..-Photo by Jeromy Kadewere, Nyasa Times
Malawi VP Saulos Chilima launches relief food exercise –Photo by Jeromy Kadewere, Nyasa Times

Launching the much awaited relief food program in Nsanje,  one of the worst hit districts where 40, 000 people have been affected, Chilima warned civil servants who will try to mess up the program through theft, that  they would be arrested and fired immediately.

Chilima emotionally appealed to government officials and donors to work hard and smart, warning that the situation was a matter of life and death.

“The task before us is colossal. We must work hard and smart. We can’t afford to make a mistake. If we make a mistake, someone is going to die,” said the Vice President.

Ironically, Nsanje district also suffered the worst floods in 2015 a calamity that was followed by prolonged dry spells this year withering crops that had hoped for.

In the response plan, some families will recieve food items while in other areas beneficiaries will be given cash equivalent to the items others will be receiving.

The Vice President also took the situation to appeal to Malawians to consider opting for other foods instead of only relying on maize.

“There is climate change and maize is not resilient to bad weather so let us start changing our eating behaviour,” he said.

A team of vigilant international NGOs led by WFP are working closely with government apparently to salvage the hunger situation which threatens to be the worst in the history of Malawi.

But the Vice President Chilima was optimistic that the response will be rolled smoothly so as to live up to President Peter Mutharika’s promise that no Malawian will die of hunger.

“Just like we did in 2015, we are prepared and we have a plan that will follow. We  have the trust of our donor partners so we will reach out to all the beneficiaries in good time. We will do this together, timely, and with a sense of urgency and perfection,” Chilima said.

The Malawi government needs about US$395 million to smoothly respond to the crisis but the available resources are yet hit the half mark.

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5 years ago

That’s Good VP, but you people forget the working class. they cannot even buy maize from ADMARC because there is no maize at AMARDCs for sale except for TV show off and yet they don’t. receive free maize which others (less privileged) get but pay heavy taxes towards the procurement of this free distribution. Think of these workers please so that they too benefit of their taxes other than reaping them through making maize available to them . They need maize to buy without hassles and corruption in full bags and not 20 kgs

5 years ago

What Peter Mutharika’s promise?? It’s the UN distributing the maize. I met one of the Consultants yesterday.

5 years ago

If the president stops hiring jets, we could pass the halfway mark!

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