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Japan Supports WFP Response To El Nino-Induced Drought Causing Hunger In Malawi

LILONGWE – The Government of Japan has provided US$1.85 million to support the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) operation in Malawi where 6.5 million people need urgent food assistance until March next year.

This contribution is part of the US$5 million grant from Japan for the southern Africa regional El Niño response, aimed at providing food and nutrition support to food insecure people in Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland.

In Malawi, WFP recently started providing food assistance to the affected households in Nsanje district and is now scaling up the response to more districts, targeting 5.85 million food insecure people in 24 districts by January 2017.

Malawi is one of the countries in southern Africa worst affected by El Niño-related drought. Against a backdrop of low development and prevailing economic challenges, El Niño has triggered widespread hunger across the country.

“We applaud the Government of Japan for their swift response to the humanitarian needs in Malawi through this life-saving contribution. Due to underfunding, WFP started providing half rations in July through to August, so Japan’s contribution to essential food assistance is especially timely,” said WFP Country Representative Ms. Coco Ushiyama.

Japanese Ambassador Shuichiro Nishioka said: “With the majority of livelihoods in Malawi dependent on agriculture for their nutrition and income, the El Niño-related drought during the last growing season has made it hard for most farmers to grow enough to feed and provide for their families. The Government of Japan therefore believes in working together in agreeing to a common goal that will help eliminate hunger and malnutrition.”

WFP will use Japan’s funds to provide two basic food commodities - maize and pulses - to the most food-insecure people.

This support is part of WFP’s ongoing partnership with Japan to break the cycle of food and nutrition insecurity by investing in relief and supporting recovery and resilience building activities.

While welcoming pledges from several donors, WFP needs to receive these contributions as soon as possible to enable a timely and efficient response. Until these pledges translate into funds, WFP urgently requires nearly US$230 million to meet the increased food needs for the affected Malawians through to March next year.

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WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

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Find real-time price monitoring and food security information from WFP’s mobile Vulnerability Analysis & Mapping (mVAM) initiative in Malawi here.

The recent Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) study found that Malawi loses nearly USD 600 million annually due to the effects of child undernutrition. Read the report here.

For more information please contact:
Sarah Rawson, WFP/Lilongwe, Mob. +265999972402,
Claudia Altorio, WFP/Johannesburg, Mob. + 27829081448,