Malawi: President Declares Malawi State of Disaster – 
Appeals for Assistance As Floods and Drought Hit


Nyasa Times-

President Peter Mutharika has declared Malawi a state of disaster as floods have hit most parts of the north following continuous rains for close to two weeks and drought in most parts of the south.

Mutharika made the declaration on Tuesday as vice president Saulos Chilima braved heavy rains to visit muddy and slippery areas of 1700 displaced people camps.
The President has done this in accordance with powers conferred upon him by section 32(1) of the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act. In a statement released on Tuesday April 12, the day on which the declaration took effect.

Mutharika points out persistent dry spells facilitated by El Nino, inadequate or erratic rainfall and destructive floods as some of the factors behind the current state of affairs.
The declaration will help both local and international organizations to solicit aid for the needy.

Mutharika says the floods and drought will force food production to go down by 24 per cent compared to last year and the number of beneficiaries of relief food will shoot up from the current three million people in government data base.

So far six people have been killed and 10 people are in hospitals with serious injuries following collapse of 1080 houses in Mzuzu alone due to heavy rains.
There are also reports of deaths due to hunger related due to drought in some parts of the country but President Mutharika and his government rejects this year.
Informed by expert advice from Ministry of Agriculture officials, the President said Malawi needs just over three million metric tonnes of maize every year but it is projected that next year Malawi will have 2.4 million metric tonnes. This year Malawi had 2.7 million metric tonnes of maize, signaling a 12.5 percent drop in maize production.
He therefore has appealed for humanitarian relief assistance from international donor community, United Nations agencies, NGOs, private sector as well as citizens of goodwill.

Food and governance experts have hailed President Mutharika for his proactive and pragmatic response to seemingly another year of food shortage.

Malawi: President Mutharika’s Statement On Malawi Food Situation

Nyasa Times /

President Peter Mutharika made a National Address on the Status of Food Situation in the Country. Nyasa Times reproduce full text the President’s address:

I have called for this press conference to share with you the current food security situation in the country.

As you know, the 2014/2015 growing season has been one of the worst seasons. You will recall that during this growing season, rains started very late, in mid-December, 2014. From the onset of rains in mid-December, 2014, through to mid-January, 2015, the country received continuous heavy rainfall that led to the worst flooding in living memory.

Photo: UNDP/Arjan van de Merwe Floods in early 2015 were the worst in living memory in Malawi, washing away homes and food stocks, and ruining fertile land.
Photo: UNDP/Arjan van de Merwe
Floods in early 2015 were the worst in living memory in Malawi, washing away homes and food stocks, and ruining fertile land.

The floods affected about 1.1 million people. It damaged people’s property and public infrastructure and at least 64 000 hectares of crop fields throughout the country, mostly in the Southern Region. One hundred and one [101] people were killed and 172 people were reported missing.

The magnitude of the floods caused my government to swiftly move in and, as you will recall, I declared a state of national disaster in the 15 most affected districts and I appealed for assistance on 13th January, 2015. The response to my appeal for assistance was commendable. Let me take advantage of this opportunity to thank all the development partners and the entire humanitarian community for the assistance to the flood-affected households that they rendered, and continue to do so.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

Soon after the floods in January, 2015, the season was characterized by intermittent rainfall and prolonged dry spells in most parts of the country. The combination of the delayed onset of rains, the worst floods, the intermittent rainfall and the prolonged dry spells at critical stages of maize development, led to a food deficit of 223 723 metric, for the first time since the introduction of the Farm Input Subsidy Program.

The Government of Malawi, through the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC), carried out a food security assessment exercise from 8th June to 2nd July 2015. The exercise was aimed at assessing the food security situation in the country, and determining the number of people who are likely to be food insecure during the 2015/2016 consumption year.

The results of the assessment show that a total of 2,833,212 people will not be able to meet their annual food requirement during the 2015/16 consumption period. This represents 17 per cent of the country’s total population. The affected population is spread in 25 districts, namely: Chitipa Karonga and Mzimba in the Northern Region; Dedza, Dowa, Kasungu, Lilongwe, Mchinji Nkhotakota, Ntcheu and Salima in the Central Region; and Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Chiradzulu, Machinga, Mangochi, Mulanje, Mwanza, Neno, Nsanje, Phalombe, Thyolo and Zomba in the Southern Region.

Although there has been people facing hunger in recent years, the situation this year is the worst in many years. The MVAC report estimates the total humanitarian food that is required to support the affected people to be at 124,183 metric tons of maize equivalence.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

Following the MVAC food insecurity report, the government has developed the 2015/2016 Food Insecurity Response Plan. The response plan requires a total of US$146.378 million.

I would like to assure you that the Malawi Government is ready to support the 2.8 million people facing hunger. In the meantime, the government, using its own resources, has bought 30 000 metric tons of maize from Zambia at the cost of K2.82 billion, and it is in the process of buying additional 26 000 metric tons, at the value of about K3.5 billion. This maize will be used to stabilize the price of the commodity on the market through Admarc across the country. The Strategic Grain Reserve currently has maize in stock and it continues to be replenished. The government is therefore, ready to roll out food relief to food insecure households during the lean period from October, 2015, to March 2016, as recommended by MVAC.

As has always been the case, another MVAC assessment is due in October, 2015. Based on the historical trend, that assessment is likely to show a larger number of people facing hunger than is the case now. In view of this, I would like to appeal to all our development partners, other countries, non-governmental organizations, civil society, the private sector and individuals, both in Malawi and elsewhere, to complement government resources in assisting the food insecure households. Donations can be in cash or in kind.

The 2015/2016 Food Insecurity Response Plan as well as details of the government’s bank account for cash donations can be obtained from the Department of Disaster Management Affairs in the Office of the Vice President.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

I would also like to call upon all stakeholders, including implementing partners who will be involved in the implementation of the response plan, to be accountable in assisting the needy. We need to move together in alleviating the suffering of the food insecure Malawians who are looking forward to government’s support during this difficult time.

Let me take advantage of this opportunity to express my appreciation to development partners and other donors who have so far provided food assistance in response to this year’s food needs.

With these remarks, I thank you very much for your attention.

Malawi’s Forced Sex Camps Hurt Girls As Much As Child Marriage

By Astrid Zweynert

Oxford, England — The custom in Malawi of sending girls to sexual initiation camps is just as harmful as child marriage and must end if the nation is serious about protecting girls’ rights, a teenager who escaped being a child bride said.
Memory Banda, 18, said the tradition of early sexual initiation, seen as a way of preparing pubescent girls for marriage, was forcing girls to have sex and exposing them to the risk of HIV infection.
Banda said even if girls were not sent to the camps, they may receive a night time visit from an older man.
Known as a “hyena”, the man sent by village elders has sex with girls as young as nine to prepare them for marriage.
“It’s forced sex,” Banda, 18, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview late on Thursday. “Most girls end up being pregnant, and many drop out of school.”
In February, Malawi passed a law banning child marriage and raised the minimum age for girls to marry to 18 in a move hailed by campaigners seeking an end to the practice that affects half of all girls in the country.
Banda’s own sister was married at 11 to a man in his thirties, who had made her pregnant during a sexual initiation.
But Banda escaped her sister’s fate because she was living with an aunt who supported her resistance to early marriage. Banda later joined the Girls Empowerment Network, a Malawi-based charity that for years tried to get lawmakers to end child marriage.
Banda said the priority now was to ensure the new law was enforced and to encourage village leaders to speak out against early sexual initiation.
“The law will make a big difference and have a big impact, but only if we work with communities and girls to address the issues openly,” Banda said on the sidelines of the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship.
Malawi has shown signs of progress already with a growing openness to discussing girls’ sexual rights and dozens of communities in the southern African country banning early sexueyal initiation, she added.
Every year 15 million girls are married as children with one in three girls in the developing world married before they are 18, according to campaign group Girls Not Brides.
Critics say early marriage deprives girls of an education, increases the risk of domestic violence, death or serious injuries if they have babies before their bodies are ready.
Yet the practice persists because some societies view girls as a financial burden, others believe a girl should marry as early as possible to maximise her fertility.
(Reporting by Astrid Zweynert; Editing by Katie Nguyen)

Scroll to Top