The European Business Council for Africa

The World Food Programme (WFP) welcomes a generous contribution of £3 million (USD 3.7 million) from the United Kingdom to the El Niño response appeal in Malawi. This critical support promptly addresses the urgent and escalating El Nino drought-induced humanitarian needs. 

The United Kingdom's contribution will profoundly impact the lives of Malawi's vulnerable people. It will enable the World Food Programme (WFP) to procure and distribute 3,100 metric tons of food to 280,000 affected people for two months, provide food assistance through cash-based transfers to 38,000 individuals, and strengthen the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) capacity.  

“El Niño conditions in Malawi severely impact millions of households. Without urgent support, vulnerable people affected by multiple shocks will go hungry,” says Paul Turnbull, WFP Country Director and Representative in Malawi. “The support from the United Kingdom is timely. This will enable WFP to procure maize early within the region. Based on previous years, we anticipate escalating maize prices and increasing demand throughout the Southern Africa region in the coming months,” he adds.

Early regional procurement of maize will be essential for Malawi this year. Insufficient rains, prolonged dry spells, and floods in some districts have dramatically declined national maize crop production.  

"The UK is confident that by funding WFP’s early procurement of maize while prices are lowest during the harvest, we will maximize the value of our contribution and be able to reach more vulnerable households," says Fiona Ritchie, British High Commissioner to Malawi. "As Malawi grapples with this crisis, it is crucial that we provide immediate relief and strengthen Malawi's capacity to respond to future emergencies. The UK stands with Malawi in its time of need and encourages others to do the same.” 

The impact of El Niño exacerbates existing food insecurity, with the Government of Malawi estimating that approximately 9 million people will be affected. Preliminary figures indicate early onset of the lean season around mid-year instead of October, with up to 40 per cent of the population facing acute food insecurity by the end of 2024. 

“DoDMA, on behalf of the Malawi Government, is always very thankful to the United Kingdom for timely assistance,” says Charles Kalemba, Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs. “This is greatly appreciated, and we look forward to utilising these resources to reach those who are food insecure due to the El Niño phenomenon.”

WFP’s El Niño response aims to provide food assistance to 2.1 million of the worst-hit people through in-kind assistance and cash-based transfers. With early commitments such as this, WFP can maximise the effectiveness of the El Niño response by procuring commodities early and pre-positioning assistance in the districts before seasonal rains.

These interventions are aligned with the Government of Malawi’s National El Niño Induced Prolonged Dry Spells and Floods Response Appeal, which aims to address acute food security as well as requirements for agriculture, nutrition, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, health, shelter, protection, and transport and logistics. 

During the response, WFP also aims to provide moderate acute malnutrition treatment to 88,000 children, emergency school meals to 440,000 children, and logistics services to the Government of Malawi.             


Source: World Food Programme