Malawi - Floods and Drought (food shortage) OCHA Situation Report No. 2

Situation Report
Originally published
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2002/0054
OCHA Situation Report No. 2
Malawi - Flood/Drought (food shortage)
5 March 2002

The Government of Malawi is appealing for USD 21.6 million to avert starvation

This report is based on information provided by the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in Malawi.


1. The country is currently experiencing a serious food shortage countrywide on top of the flood and cholera problem. The food crisis is so severe that there are reports of closing of primary schools as pupils are unable to go to school hungry. Large numbers of kwashiokor (diet deficiency disease), people eating wild tubers and early harvesting and consumption of premature green maize have been observed.

2. There are reports of cases of cholera outbreaks and deaths related to the food shortage, to a certain extent, in the Southern Region, particularly in Balaka, Blantyre, Chikwawa, Machinga, Mangochi, Mulanje, Nsanje, Phalombe, Thyolo and Zomba. In the Central Region, namely in Dedza, Lilongwe, Mchinji, Nkhotakota, Ntcheu and Salima, cholera related deaths have been reported. The total number of cases recorded is some 9,131, in addition to 161 deaths. The case fatality is currently over 2% (MSF 22/02/2002) and Ministry of Health (28/02/2002). Lack of ringers-lactate in country to contain cholera is of a great concern.


3. On 25 February, at the regular monthly Aid Coordination Committee meeting, the Government appealed for USD 21,625,977 (approx. MWK 1.6 billion) for structured intervention for floods/food crisis and recovery.

National Response

4. The Government, in collaboration with some stakeholders, has been responding to the flood/food crisis. For the flood victims, the Government has so far distributed 156.25 tonnes of maize, 21.85 tonnes of beans and other items comprised of blankets, plastic pails, roofing sheets and pots during the month of February.

International Response

5. The UN Country Team is responding to the food crisis jointly, making arrangements for a joint crop assessment and developing a multi-sectoral action plan so that the response addresses health issues, food security and shelters among other relevant elements.

6. The European Union and WFP fielded a food assessment mission to the southern and central parts of the country. The team confirmed the severity of the food shortages. Many people are surviving, selling personal effects and eating unripe maize and potatoes. A report of the mission is expected to be released early March.

7. WFP has expanded its on-going school-feeding programme from three districts to five districts. Under the programme, approximately 635 mt of food will be distributed to some 50,000 pupils every month.

8. WHO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, has requested its regional office to arrange for an urgent supply of 800,000 ringers-lactate and 900,000 sachets of oral rehydration salts (ORS). The supplies are expected to be in the country shortly.

9. OCHA is prepared to serve as a channel for cash contributions to be used for immediate relief assistance, in coordination with relevant organizations in the United Nations system. For banking details, please contact the desk officers indicated below. OCHA provides donor governments with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.

10. For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform OCHA Geneva on relief missions/pledges/contributions and their corresponding values by item. The OCHA Standardized Contributions Recording Format for information on contributions may be found by clicking on Financial Tracking at the top of the page for this disaster on the OCHA Internet Website (

11.This situation report, together with information on other ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:
Mr. J. McGoldrick/Ms. Yasuko Sawada/Ms. Heidi Kuttab
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 17 12/1768/3194

Press contact:
(in GVA), Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(in N.Y.), Ms. Phyllis Lee, direct Tel. +1-212-963 48 32

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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