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Malawian president declares national disaster over maize deficit

By News24 13 April 2016

Blantyre - Malawian President Peter Mutharika has declared his nation, which this year faces a maize deficit of over one million metric tons, to be in a state of disaster.

“In the circumstances, it is very clear that we have [a] food shortage in the country which will affect a considerable number of our fellow citizens,” Mutharika said in an address to the nation on Tuesday night

“Accordingly, and in accordance with powers conferred upon me by Section 32(1) of the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act, I declare a state of national disaster effective from today, 12th April, 2016.”

He said that, after the late onset of the rains, most areas especially in the southern region, were receiving sporadic rains, interspaced with prolonged dry spells resulting in the drying, scorching and permanent wilting of crops.

“These prolonged dry spells have resulted in severe crop failure, particularly in the southern region and parts of the central region.”

According to Mutharika, Malawi was facing another food crisis as most parts the country that were affected by last year’s floods were hit by dry spells this year.

Last year, more than 2.8 million food-insecure Malawians depended on aid from the government and United Nations agencies.

Malawi, whose maize requirement is currently estimated at 3.2 million metric tons, has this year produced an estimated 2.4 million tons. The situation means the country faces a maize deficit of about 1.07 million tons.

Mutharika has since appealed for humanitarian relief assistance from the international donor community, the relevant United Nations agencies, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector

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