Commissioner for Disaster Management Affairs, James Chiusiwa has called on all stakeholders to strictly adhere to Covid-19 preventive measures in the provision of relief assistance to food insecure households under the 2020/21 Lean Season Food Insecure Response Programme (2020/21 LS-FIRP), which is also known as the MVAC Response Programme.
Speaking on Thursday (14th January, 2021) when he officially opened a one day-virtual preparatory meeting which discussed arrangements and implementation of the 2020/21 LS-FIRP, Chiusiwa said it was of paramount importance that stakeholders, including beneficiaries, are cautious of the pandemic.
“We have witnessed a surge in Covid-19 cases but at the same time, 2.6 million people require food assistance. As we are reaching out to the food-insecure populations, let us ensure that we are not jeopardising our lives and those of the beneficiaries. We need to adhere to all Covid-19 preventive measures,” said Chiusiwa during the meeting which drew together various humanitarian partners and officials from district and city councils.
A Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report indicated that over 2.6 million people in all the 28 districts and four cities of the country will be food insecure between the months of December, 2020 and March, 2021.
Following the report, the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) and its humanitarian partners developed the 2020/21LS-FIRP to assist the resource mobilization and coordinate the response interventions with regard to the food situation.
Two response modalities are being used to assist the food insecure population. Others are receiving cash transfers and others will be targeted with in-kind maize and other commodities. Government provided 30,000 metric tonnes of maize from the Strategic Grain Reserves for the cause.
In collaboration with various humanitarian partners, such as the World Food Programme, Malawi Red Cross Society and World Vision Malawi, the department started implementing the programme by reaching out to the affected populations in Nsanje, Machinga and Zomba, where affected populations are getting cash transfers of K23,500 per month for the purchase of food.
In January 2021, the department and its partners extended the provision of relief assistance to beneficiaries in Blantyre, Neno, Balaka and Dedza. The rest of the districts will be assisted from February, in line with the recommendations by MVAC.