Friday, December 21, 2007

WFP Malawi programmes suffer a financial setback

A Three year Social Protection of Food Insecurity and HIV/Aids Programme that was expected to be implemented by World Food Programme (WFP) from January 1, 2008 has stalled because lack of funds.

WFP come up with a programme that was to tackle widespread poverty and hunger across Malawi with the spectrum of interventions that provide emergency food support, disaster risk reduction as well as encouraging development through nutritional, educational and health related projects, according to information sourced on WFP report produced in November 2007.

The programme is expected to benefit 1.2 million Malawians, every year for three years, who are living in widespread poverty and hunger across the country.

WFP spokesperson Matthews Kumwenda said the programme has stall because donors have not yet fulfilled their pledges and that WFP does not have enough resources to proceed with the programme.

The project was a carry over of caseloads of projects that were benefiting HIV/Aids affected people, malnourished children and pregnant/lactating mothers which are scheduled to end, in the country, on December 31, 2007.

Kumwenda said WFP is remaining with money that would see the programme up to February next year and if the donors, who made the pledged to finance the programme will not come forth about 1.2 million Malawians would be affected.

“We have got maize that can be distributed up to February only and if no donor is going to come forward to assist that means we are going to cut down the number of beneficiaries and reduce the rations,” he said.

He also WFP would not be able to assist in the likehood that the country experiences heavy flood as the organization has no money to carry on such kind of projects.

Recent Metrological Department reports predicted that the Malawi would experience above normal rainfall and there is high likehood of floods.

In the report WFP said: “With no adequate resources to commence the project activities in January, there is a high risk that WFP Malawi may not be able to respond to floods when called upon to support victims. As early as November 16, 2007, there have been floods and hailstorms reported in seven districts with almost 2000 households affected.

“The Government of Malawi is constrained in terms of resources to handle a large scale flood disaster, and may not be able to cope with any farther floods as we move towards the peak of the rainy season where floods have been predicted,” read part of the report.

Commissioner for department of Relief and Disaster Preparedness Lilian Ng’oma said she was aware of the situation which WFP was in and that Malawi government has set aside money that would be used to respond in any eventuality.

“We would also rely on other NGO and faith groups, many others would come in,” she said.

She said Malawi has already started experiencing heavy storms in some places and that it will need the input of the donors.

WFP said the project focuses on disaster risk reduction and protecting the livelihoods of food-insecure and vulnerable people.

WFP assistance will address the food needs of households enduring successive shocks to health, food production and income that are at risk of hunger and poverty. Life-saving support will be given to people made food insecure by HIV/AIDS and to households with transitory food needs as a result of shock.

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