The Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) on Tuesday, (1st November, 2022) rolled out distribution of relief food assistance to food insecure households under the 2022/23 Lean Season Food Insecurity Response Programme (LS-FIRP).
The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) projected that 3.8 million people will be food insecure in 27 districts (except Likoma) and four cities of the country.
DoDMA and humanitarian partners will be implementing the programme using two modalities; cash transfers and in-kind maize distribution to address the food situation.
Speaking in Nsanje, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs Charles Kalemba said the department has rolled out the programme as earlier on indicated promising to reach out to every affected person in all the councils.
Kalemba said the programme will run for five months in the severely affected districts and three months in the relatively affected districts.
He said government will make sure that no one dies of hunger and that only the less privileged and deserving people benefit from the programme.
"As the President promised that DoDMA will commence food distribution on 1st November, 2022, here we are, fulfilling it. Dr Lazarus Chakwera also assured all the affected people that no one is going to die of hunger.
"Through councils, we will make sure that every deserving household receives either food or cash transfers," said Kalemba.
He said that the department will not give a blind eye to any reported malpractice government officers and other duty bearers may get involved in.
"Let me warn those that take advantage of this exercise and steal from the less privileged that the law will be applied accordingly," he said.
He said: "Beneficiaries are also urged not to sell the maize they have received. They will also be prosecuted once caught selling because that will be evidence enough that they were not deserving beneficiaries of the programme."
The MVAC report indicated that affected people in Zomba District, Zomba City, Balaka, Nsanje and Chikwawa will require food assistance for five months (November 2022 to March 2023) while the rest of the councils in the southern region will require assistance for four months (December 2022-March 2023). Beneficiaries in councils from the central and northern regions of the country will require assistance for three months (January to March, 2023).
In his remarks, Traditional Authority (T/A) Makoko commended government for the timely response and living by its promise.
Makoko said Tropical Storm Ana and Cyclone Gombe heavily affected production of crops in the district; leaving many households food insecure.
He issued a stern warning to duty bearers who would want to take advantage of the exercise for personal gains and beneficiaries that would want to sell relief assistance.
"We will work hand in hand with the Malawi Police Service to ensure that no one is abusing the programme,” he said.
The total resource requirements for the implementation of the programme are pegged at MK74.17 billion of which K46.91 billion has been mobilized through cash transfers by partners and the African Risk Capacity Programme insurance payout.
Kalemba assured that with the cash transfers plus the maize that government has provided, each and every beneficiary will be covered during the period in question.
Photo credit: Arkangel Tembo (Malawi News Agency); DoDMA