Malawi’s poor are struggling to recover from four years of continuous crop failure and a scorching drought in 2005. Islamic Relief is now providing assistance to thousands of people affected by the food crisis.
Around 5 million people face food shortages and the president of Malawi has declared a national disaster.
Prices have become exorbitantly high after the near exhaustion of food stocks, while many Malawians have been forced to sell their animals to survive.
Rural Malawi is worst hit by the crisis. In desperation, many have resorted to eating wild grass seeds, leaves and unripe melons, none of which have any nutritional value.
Farming communities are rapidly losing the ability to cope with the dearth of food, particularly in areas that have not been reached by the existing aid effort. The worst affected are women, children, orphans, the elderly and people with AIDS.
Islamic Relief’s Response
IR aid workers have met senior government officials and are assessing the situation of those affected by the food shortages.
Islamic Relief is putting in place a programme to support farmers in the affected areas by distributing seeds and tools. IR also plans to establish a nutrition programme in the areas badly affected by the drought and will begin drilling bore holes. Islamic Relief’s intervention will include the establishment efficient means of delivering food to the affected areas.
In the Shire valley, IR staff have distributed 4,200 food packs containing sacks of maize, pigeon peas and salt that will benefit around 30,000 people.
The food distributions took place in 15 villages in the Chikwawa district.