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Friday, October 28, 2016
Floods threaten life-saving food aid in Malawi
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¬†Heavy rain is hampering food distributions in the south of Malawi, reports aid agency CAFOD. The food was destined to feed over 70,000 people who are at risk from hunger because of the current drought. Now rains have hit the Chikwawa and Nsjane districts in the south, causing serious flooding of six of Malawi's rivers washing away newly planted maize, millet and sorghum crops. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) says that Malawi is one of the worst hit countries in Southern African experiencing severe food shortages. It estimates that around five million Malawians will not have enough food to eat over the next two months. CAFOD's partner in Malawi, CADECOM - Catholic Development Commission of Malawi, has been running emergency food programmes in the areas affected by the drought. Nota Moyo, CADECOM Coordinator for the Chikwawa district said: "People had very poor crops because of drought and now their attempts to grow crops again have been ruined. The fields are almost bare, maize crops lie face down in the ground in ponds of river mud. "As well as the loss of their crops, farmers have also lost their homes and livestock, as well as coping with the loss of the basic infrastructure, of the roads and bridges that have been washed away. As soon as the waters subside the food trucks will aim to reach those villages worst affected. But we also need to look at how to assist these farming communities with more seed, livestock and materials to rebuild their homes." Nana Anto-Awuakye, a spokeswoman for CAFOD, has recently returned from Malawi, where she visited the flood and drought areas in the south of the country. She said: "Farmers told me that they had planted their fields three times, in the hope that their maize crop would grow. Women told me that they have had to leave their homes in search of food, often doing casual labour on big farms for very little money, neglecting their own fields and garden plots, and every day the price of maize is rising. The cost of a bag of 10kgs of maize is out of the reach of the poor. "The people that are suffering the most are the children, sick and the elderly. Women told me about the struggle to find enough food to make one meal a day not just to feed their immediate family, but also the extended members of the family that have become their responsibility because of ill health or old age." CAFOD has donated £150,000 to support CADECOM's emergency distributions of food baskets containing maize, beans and a corn flour blend which is high in protein and can be made into a thick porridge for the chronically ill. Underpinning all of this is the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Malawians are struggling to cope during these bad times, as families take on the responsibility of caring for relatives living with HIV/AIDS.
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