29 December 2016

Malawi to Benefit From $20.8 Million Dfid Grant to Tackle Drought Crisis - Life-Saving Cash Channelled Through Unicef

Malawi is amongtst four southern African nations that will benefit from a a grant of £16.9 million ($20.8 million) by the UK Department for International Development to UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) for life-saving interventions to prevent the escalation of malnutrition and child illness or death as counties are approaching the peak of the lean season, following the worst El-Nino induced drought in decades.

Apart from Malawi, other countries to benefit from the grant are Madagascar, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The time funds from DfID comes as increasing numbers of children are dropping out of school due to lack of water or pressing needs at home.

In addition, disease outbreaks, such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea, are reported across the four countries.

The Secretary of State for International Development Minister, Priti Patel, said: "As we enter 2017, over 37 million people across Africa are without food. Families face losing their homes and livelihoods as the effects of widespread drought worsen.

"That is why Global Britain is leading the response to the escalating crisis by providing lifesaving food, water and shelter, and we urge others to step up to prevent people from going hungry and leaving their homes in search of food. Tackling the global challenges of our time such as drought and disease which fuel migration, insecurity and instability is the right thing to do and is firmly in Britain's interest."

The DFID assistance will enable around 456,000 children to be screened for severe acute malnutrition, and identified cases to be referred and treated.

Health care workers will receive critical care training, and over 65,000 children will be treated for diarrhoea, pneumonia or measles. 194,000 people are targeted to gain access to safe drinking water.

The grant will also help to reach 3.25 million people with key information on nutrition, water and hygiene best practices, as well as HIV and disease prevention.

UNICEF's Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Director, Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala, said: "As already vulnerable children and their families enter another lean season, these funds are critical for helping them to cope with the ongoing impacts of this chronic emergency.

"We greatly appreciate - and applaud - DFID for leading the way in ensuring that communities are significantly supported to become further resilient to the recurrent climatic crises we are seeing across much of the region."

Across the four countries receiving the DFID grant, escalated needs include:

* People in need of humanitarian assistance have increased by more than one million to 13.6 million, mainly due to the situation worsening in Madagascar, Malawi, and Zimbabwe;

* In Malawi, more than 137,000 children are being forced out of school by the crisis; in Madagascar, the dropout rate in primary schools is up to 40% in most affected communities;

* In the four countries, more than 143,000 children were estimated to need treatment for severe acute malnutrition in 2016 and 1.3 million to need access to safe water.

The DFID assistance will run until November 2017.

The UK is the leading international donor for the humanitarian crisis caused by drought in Malawi, and has given over £40 million to the response so far.

This includes £8.1 million of new support announced last month by International Development Minister James Wharton, which in partnership with the World Food Programme, will assist an additional 760,000 people identified as in urgent need of food by providing them with maize vouchers.

This aid package continues a strong track record of UK humanitarian support in Malawi, which works alongside Malawi's National Disaster Response Plan to mitigate the effects of El Nino-related climate shocks through greater preparedness and resilience building activities. As well as longer term preparedness work, this support has also gone towards emergency distributions of food and nutritional supplements

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