WFP Emergency Response Donor Alert – 29 April 2015

People gather at Mikolongo school in Chikwawa district to receive rations of maize, pulses, oil and fortified corn soya blend to prevent malnutrition. WFP started food distributions to those displaced by floods on Saturday 17 January.

WFP urgently requires US$ 5.4 million to continue providing relief assistance to flood-affected households facing food insecurity through July 2015. Cash transfers and in-kind food assistance will be provided to facilitate a seamless transition from response to recovery through integrated and complementary assistance with agriculture, protection and shelter clusters.
According to results of the recent joint food security assessment released in March, the number of flood victims who require food assistance between April and July has risen from 368,000 to 616,000, spanning 17 districts. This marks a 70% increase from initial estimates and includes two additional districts.

To meet this rise in food insecurity, the national Humanitarian Response Committee has agreed that all 616,000 food insecure flood victims will receive in-kind food rations for the April cycle of distributions, with the government donating in-kind maize from its Strategic Grain Reserves and WFP providing other food commodities (pulses, Super Cereal and fortified vegetable oil). Starting from May, rations of SGR maize will be provided to all flood victims and rations of Super Cereal will be targeted to only households with children under age five and/or pregnant or breastfeeding women. To complement these foods, pulses and fortified vegetable oil will be provided as in-kind rations to 57 percent of the population and in the form of cash transfers to 43 percent of the population as per the results of the recent market assessment.

WFP therefore urgently requires US$ 5.4 million to continue providing food and cash relief assistance to flood-affected households facing hunger. Without new confirmed contributions, WFP will not be able to meet the full food and nutrition needs of the affected population beyond the April cycle of distributions.

Of the US$ 5.4 million shortfall, US$ 3.2 million is needed to draw down, transport and distribute the remaining balance of the Government of Malawi’s contribution from its Strategic Grain Reserves. These twinning funds will enable access to sufficient maize to cover the full maize requirements for the floods response. US$ 2.2 million is urgently needed to provide cash transfers for beneficiaries to locally purchase additional commodities (pulses and fortified vegetable oil) to ensure a nutritionally balanced food ration.

This food assistance is integrated with early recovery activities, with a view to transitioning towards full conditional assistance (i.e. Food assistance for asset creation), to incentivize return of displaced flood victims and to help restore and rebuild their livelihoods. While voluntary return is ongoing in the majority of affected districts, camps in the worst hit districts of Nsanje and Chikhwawa are still housing flood victims.

As a first phase in this transition, WFP has started providing complementary assistance with other sectors, primarily agriculture, protection and shelter: WFP will provide food or cash assistance to the targeted population while other partners provide to the same households materials, tools and seeds to support the clearing of fields, rebuilding houses, and replanting and irrigating as appropriate. Continuing efforts by the food security cluster to respond differently, this approach will help ensure that all immediate needs of affected households are simultaneously met to get them back on their feet and on the path to resilience. WFP has already started conditional food assistance for asset creation to build resilience in Balaka district and planning for scale-up of this work is underway in an additional six districts.

WFP is thankful for funding received from the USA, the UK, Government of Malawi, CERF, Japan and Canada that have made the floods response possible to date.

Given the precarious food security outlook for Malawi with the government estimating nearly a 28 percent crop reduction for 2015, there is concern that these food needs must be met in a timely manner. If not, it could lead to an increase in malnutrition, particularly in women and young children, as well as further erode already fragile livelihoods, pushing a high number of vulnerable Malawians deeper into food insecurity later this year.