The primary cause of the current food shortage in Malawi is the regional phenomenon of cyclical drought combined with sporadic flooding and certain economic factors. This has led to over 3 million people with insufficient food to eat.
We are working in the badly affected southern region of Malawi.
We are distributing emergency food aid to help meet the immediate needs of 11,400 people in the Mulanje district. This follows the successful set up of local committees who ensure the food gets to the most vulnerable people.
Futher distrubutions are planned for a wider area which will continue until April 2003. These will be based on the results of ongoing assessments.
As part of the summer cropping programme seeds will be distributed to 90,000 households across the Mulanje, Thyolo and Phalombe districts. Fertlisiers, water pumps and watering cans will also be allocated to help maximise harvests.
This follows the completion of a successful winter cropping programme in which a variety of seeds and cuttings and were distributed to small holders in the Mulanje and Thyolo districts.
Four million people in Zambia have insufficient food and 2.3 million people are in immediate need of food aid.
Our response is focusing on the southern and western provinces which are those most seriously affected by the current food crisis.
We are continuing to work with partner organisation, Harvest Help, in Siavonga, southern Zambia. Water pumps and irrigation kits are being installed to get the ground ready before onion, tomatoe and rape seeds are distributed over the next few weeks.
Seeds and tools are being distributed in a similar programme of work being undertaken by another partner organisation, Keepers Foundation Zambia. They are working in Senanga in the west of the country.
Due to various factors the crisis in Zimbabwe seems to be more acute and on a larger scale than in other countries in the region. Half the population, around 6 million people, are estimated to be without sufficient food.
We are distributing food to 11,000 people in the Zvishavane district of the Midlands province - an area of great need. This includes the provision of maize, sugar beans and oil.
Mozambique and Namibia
Oxfam is currently assessing the situation in Mozambique and Namibia.