The UN World Food Programme, along with the Government of Malawi, launched a relief operation on 1 October to meet a rise in Malawi’s food needs due to bad weather during the growing season. Also affecting the food security of the country are high food prices. The areas of greatest need are more widely dispersed than last year and include the traditional grain baskets of central and northern Malawi.
According to the July 2013 Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee report, 1.46 million people - about 10 percent of the rural population - are likely to face substantial shortfalls in household food availability. It is believed, moreover, that this figure could increase significantly as the year progresses.
While the most severe levels of hunger are not expected until the height of the lean season in January to February, WFP and its partners decided to launch their joint relief operation in October because of evidence that household food stocks in many areas were already depleted. The Government has announced that it will contribute 25,000 metric tons of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserve to the relief effort.