The Malawi government, still grappling with the aftershocks of the January devastating floods, says it has so far solicited US$91 million for humanitarian response – two months after President Peter Mutharika sounded the SOS to the international community.
Vice President Saulos Chilima disclosed this on Friday during a news conference held in Lilongwe where, as Minister for Disaster Management Affairs, updated the media on the current food security situation as well as the state of preparedness in the event that another disaster occurs this rainy season.
President Mutharika made the appeal following an assessment that showed that 2.8 million people would face hunger as a result of the flood disaster and the dry spell that followed.
Addressing the news conference, Chilima said the international appeal has raised US$91 million and thanked the World Bank, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, the European Union, Italy, Norway, Egypt, Botswana, Save the Children Italy, the United Nations’ Central Emergency Response Fund and World Food Programme for the assistance.
“However, we still have a shortfall of about US$55 million from required US$146 million and we are sure that more assistance will come in,” said Chilima.
The veep arrayed any fear of misappropriation, stressing that all this money is being channelled through international NGOs who in turn are rolling out the response plan in conjunction with government through the Department of Disaster Management Affairs.
“It is not something that is coming straight into government coffers. But as a government we will make sure that we reach out all the beneficiaries,” he said.
The Vice President said Capital Hill has so far approved the drawdown of a total of 51,753Metric tonnes of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR).
“In monetary value, this drawdown translates into US$12.79 million. This maize will enable WFP preposition the food aid in some of the hard – to-reach areas before the rainy season to avoid disrupting implementation of the programme,” said the veep.
The Malawi government has also, added Chilima, bought 30,000Metric Tonnes of maize from Zambia for ADMARC at a cost of K2.8 billion, and 22,193Metric tonnes locally at a cost of K2.6 billion.
“This maize will be used to stabilize the price of the commodity on the market through ADMARC. This effort will see the price of maize in Admarc remaining at K110/kg for the next six months,” he said.
An assessment by the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC), carried out in June and July, 2015, showed that a total of 2.8 million people would be at risk of hunger during the 2015/2016 lean period from October, 2015, to March, 2016.
The 2.8 million represents 17% of the country’s total population, spread over 25 of the country’s 28 districts.
The MVAC report recommended that 1,960,377 people, representing 69 percent of the affected population in 68 Traditional Authorities in 24 districts, should be targeted with food distribution while 880, 117 people, representing 31 percent in 58 Traditional Authorities in 18 districts, should be on cash transfers.
Chilima further disclosed that in the wake of the looming El Nino, Malawi government had set aside K1 billion for preparedness and mitigation of the adverse weather’s impact.
He also disclosed that in addition to the contingency plan for El Nino, for the first time in the history of the country, government had procured a drought insurance policy from the African Risk Capacity Insurance Company Limited for the 2015/2016 farming season, with a possibility of renewing it subsequently.
Said Chilima; “With this insurance policy, the exact amount of the pay – out to which the country would be eligible would be up to a maximum of US$30million, depending on the extent of the drought.
“The Malawi government is this week paying K2.9 billion in premium.”
Chilima said the approach to disaster management this time would be proactive and that relief items and the rescuing troops would be pre-positioned in the prone areas.
WFP and Save the Children who are among the international organisation partnering Malawi government in mitigating the impact of natural disasters also made commitment to ensuring resilience to the effects of natural disasters. –Additional reporting by Kondwani Magombo, Mana.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :