Malawi: President declares national disaster because of drought, food shortages

| April 18, 2016

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Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika has declared a national disaster because of the severe drought ravaging the country. He has also appealed for 1.2 million tonnes of maize to help the country overcome food shortages.

Sixteen million people are at risk of hunger in Malawi, according to the United Nations World Food Programme.

The country is facing a shortage of maize, the main staple crop, after the December-March growing season produced 12 per cent less than the previous season. The shortage is mainly due to drought, which has been exacerbated by the El Niño weather pattern.

Zimbabwe and parts of South Africa have also declared a state of disaster.

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Photo: Rain clouds loom as Malawian subsistence farmer Louise Abele carries maize she has bought to feed her family near the capital Lilongwe, Malawi January 31, 2016. Credit: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings