World Food Programme launches emergency relief effort for flood-hit Malawi

3 April 2001

Responding to Malawi's worst floods in over a decade, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) today launched a three-month emergency operation aimed at feeding 208,500 people affected by the disaster.

The agency said that in order to run the operation from 1 April to 30 June, it urgently needs donations amounting to $3.3 million to purchase 8,800 tonnes of food for hungry families.

The floods have caused numerous houses to collapse, leaving thousands of people without shelter, said WFP Country Director Adama Diop-Baye. "Many more have lost their crops and are facing massive food shortages -- our worst fear is that we could see increased malnutrition, even starvation."

The Country Director also underscored serious concern about Malawi's most vulnerable people, saying that the nutritional status of women and children was at grave risk. "Donations are needed immediately to ensure that these mothers have enough energy to plant, harvest and support their families."

Flooding occurred as a result of abnormally high rainfall in December and January and almost incessant precipitation in February, causing many river banks to burst. In the wake of the floods, WFP launched a short-term response with food borrowed from the agency's other projects in order to immediately feed 60,000 people in the worst-hit areas.


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