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Home  >  News  >  Emergency Appeal for Malawi

News

Emergency Appeal for Malawi

Thursday July 14

Christian Aid Scotland has launched an emergency appeal for Malawi, where drought has left around a third of the population without access to enough food.

Around 6.5 million people are struggling in the country's worst food crisis for a decade, after prolonged dry spells, erratic rainfall and last year’s devastating floods, which destroyed food reserves, farm land and crops.

Reflecting the scale of the crisis and the depth of support in Scotland for Malawi, Christian Aid has made the unprecedented move of launching a direct appeal to its supporters in Scotland. At least the first £70,000 donated will be matched pound for pound by the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund.

Launching the appeal, Head of Christian Aid Scotland Sally Foster-Fulton said: “Since a State of National Disaster was declared in April, the numbers needing urgent food aid in Malawi has risen from 2.8 million to 6.5 million people. After the May-June harvest, the hardest-hit families only had enough food to last them one month.

“Without a major humanitarian response, the development progress made by the people of Malawi, alongside Christian Aid and other agencies, could be all but wiped out. That’s why any short-term relief work must link to wider, long-term efforts to help Malawi’s communities to withstand disasters that exacerbate poverty. Only then will the country stand a chance of breaking its cycle of food insecurity, once and for all.”

With support from the Scottish Government’s Climate Justice Fund, Christian Aid has helped families in Nsanje district – one of Malawi’s poorest regions – to improve water supplies and food security. Last month, two solar-powered irrigation pumps were installed to enable farmers to water their crops even through the toughest droughts, protecting communities against future crises of this nature.

However the failure of the last two harvests has forced people to move away in search of food. Christian Aid’s appeal will provide interim support so that farmers don’t have to abandon their recently-sown crops or sell agricultural tools and land.

Pansi Katenga, Christian Aid’s Malawi Country Manager, based in the capital Lilongwe, said: “The food crisis is very painful.  I have seen first-hand the plight of people in villages here, whose harvests have completely failed. This lack of crops will have a severe impact on families, as people begin to resort to severe coping strategies to deal with food insecurity. This could perpetuate poverty – for instance, there is a real risk that children could be pulled out of school or that girls could be asked to marry early, as desperate parents run out of options.

“Christian Aid in Malawi has made many strides in tackling the root causes of poverty that plagues countless communities in our country. That’s why we need to provide immediate short-term support to these people, until it’s time for them to harvest in three months’ time – otherwise there’s a real risk they could leave the crops and focus their attention on addressing their urgent day-to-day food needs.  

“Therefore, any support we can offer them, through this emergency appeal, will save lives and will prevent the situation from deteriorating. So I appeal to the people of Scotland to join hands to safeguard the gains we’ve made, to save resources and to save lives. The cost of inaction will be huge in the long-run.”

The Church of Scotland has also backed the appeal. Convener of the World Mission Council, the Rev Iain Cunningham, said: “As Christians we are called to love our neighbour, today that call is for those living in Malawi, some of the most vulnerable people in our world today. Let us first feed the hungry through this appeal and then seek to address the injustices in our world which are keeping people hungry.”

The Scottish Minister for International Development and Europe, Dr Alasdair Allan, said: “Worsening food shortages in Malawi caused by a severe drought mean 6.5 million people are now not expected to be able to meet their food needs in the coming months.

“As part of our on-going role in addressing global challenges, the Scottish Government is committed to assisting the people of Malawi in this time of need. We will match fund, up to £70,000, every pound raised by Christian Aid’s public appeal until October 31.

“I would encourage people the length and breadth of Scotland to consider supporting fund raising efforts to assist Malawi at this critical time”

To donate to the appeal, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk/emergencies/malawi-food-crisis


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