March food distributions are currently underway for both the floods and lean season relief responses (MVAC response). Some delays were experienced due to brief pipeline breaks for fortified vegetable oil and maize. March cash and voucher distributions under the MVAC response are completed, reaching 100 percent of planned.
WFP requires a total of USD 10.8 million to meet a significant increase food security needs identified by a recent joint rapid food security assessment. This includes extending food and cash assistance under the MVAC response for one month into April and scaling up food assistance to some 616,000 food insecure flood victims in 17 districts. The flood victims in need of food assistance has risen by nearly 70 percent from initial figures.
Of the total funding shortfall, USD 2.9 million is urgently needed to cover associated costs of the in-kind maize contributed by the Government of Malawi from its Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR).
Following the departure of the helicopters, WFP through the logistics cluster began an airboat operation on 2 April. This airboat is a historic first for WFP logistics globally.
The food insecurity outlook is becoming more complex in the country with many pockets of the population having experienced dry spells during critical periods of crop development. According to findings of the Civil Society Agriculture Network, the 2015 harvest will be between 30-40 percent lower than last year’s harvest. With these dual crises (floods and drought), a large number of Malawians will likely face hunger during the upcoming lean season.
Some 162,000 people are still in temporary shelter sites in six flood-affected districts, according to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs Displacement Tracking Mechanism (as of 27 March).
Cases of cholera have increased to 251, with three deaths. WFP continues to support the government-led cholera response by transporting cooler boxes of vaccines to Makhanga island, which remains cut off. Preventive measures like this have contributed to no cases of cholera in this isolated area to date.