Lilongwe — MORE than 35 000 refugees in Malawi face imminent food shortages as humanitarian organisations battle funding challenges.
The organisations need at least US$4,2 million (R60,4 million) to provide food for the refugees who have fled political instability and social unrest in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa regions over two decades.
Most of the displaced people are from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Some 3 000 Congolese have fled to Malawi this year alone.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned that without additional funding, food rations will be suspended from next January.
"This will have a devastating impact on the health and nutrition of thousands of families unless more support is immediately made available," said UNHCR Malawi Representative, Monique Ekoko.
Benoit Thiry, the representative of WFP in Malawi, expressed gratitude to partners who had previously assisted by providing funds to make food available to refuges.
"We appeal for continued support so that no refugee is left behind," Thiry said.
The imminent food shortages come as a significant part of Malawi's population of 18 million is projected to suffer food deficits in 2019.
Some 3 million people in the impoverished Southern African country will need food aid in the wake of successive drought.