Malawians Needing Food Assistance Rise to 1.6 Million, WFP Says

About 1.6 million Malawians will need food aid before this year’s harvest, an eightfold increase from last year, because of poor crops and rising prices, the United Nations World Food Programme said.

“Prolonged dry spells ravaged this year’s harvest, weakening resilience and coping mechanisms in many homes,” Rome-based WFP said in an e-mailed statement. “In some areas, this is the third consecutive year of drought.”

Malawi will use 25,000 metric tons of stored corn to provide relief, while the U.S. will give food worth $7.8 million, according to the statement. The U.K. will donate $4.7 million in funding, it said. The first phase of the aid operation will target 200,000 people, WFP said.

As many as 15 out of 28 districts are facing food shortages during the so-called lean season, the period leading up to crop harvests, WFP spokeswoman Claudia Altorio said in the statement. Southern African farmers traditionally plant rain-dependent crops in November and harvest between March and April.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Latham in Marlborough, U.K., via Johannesburg at blatham@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.

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