Epicenter Solutions (a non-profit charitable organization headquartered in Southbury) is preparing for an upcoming food crisis in Malawi by planning a third annual emergency food distribution program. According to the World Food Programme, over 39% of the population in the southern regions of Malawi (the area where we work) is currently in phase 2 (stressed) conditions, requiring humanitarian assistance and is expected to be in phase 3 (crisis) conditions during January to March 2013.
Southern Malawi has endured several years in a row of poor harvests, especially due to dry spells. In addition, the devaluation of the kwacha (local currency) in May has significantly lowered consumer purchasing power while food prices have continued to rise.
The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee of the government of Malawi recently conducted a food insecurity assessment and projected that the number of vulnerable population that requires food assistance until March has increased from 1.63 million in June to 1.97 million people currently, representing a 21% increase. Last year, the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance was estimated to be 202,000. These people are “inadequately able to access enough food to meet even their basic food needs” according to the MVAC.
The Famine Early Warning System Network projects that if humanitarian response is not implemented, the food insecurity situation in the southern districts of Malawi will deepen to phase 3 (crisis) and even phase 4 (emergency) levels during the remainder of the food consumption year.
Last year, in order to bring some relief, we began providing 252 families with corn and beans to supplement whatever they were able to gather on their own. Over time, the number of families we were able to provide for grew significantly as God blessed this program. We are planning to provide for at least as many families this year, beginning in January. For more information or to find out how you can help, visit our website at www.epicentersolutions.org.