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Malawi food crisis appeal

In 2016, A devastating drought in Malawi left 6.5 million people (40% of the population) facing severe food insecurity.

Oxfam provided emergency food support, life-saving water and assistance to help farmers recover their livelihoods.

Make a donation to our emergency fund so we can be there fast every time disaster hits.

Donate to Oxfam's emergency fund 

Archived: 4/12/17


"If people have the opportunities to farm and produce, the situation would be very different."
 - Mazuzu Masanjala, Balaka district


Photo: Oxfam

The situation

Malawi experienced flooding and drought in 2015 and then in 2016 entered a second period of severe drought due to El Nino. Currently 6.5 million people in Malawi face food insecurity and are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

Unpredictable weather has delayed usual planting cycles, leading to poor agricultural production and permanent wilting of crops. Maize prices have soared, leaving many people struggling to provide one meal a day for their families. Water availability for domestic and agricultural use has dramatically reduced, increasing the risk of disease outbreaks and impacting future crop production cycles.

In July 2016, the Malawian government issued a Joint Humanitarian Response Plan, Oxfam is working in coordination with the Government of Malawi and other agencies to reach the most vulnerable people. Yet more funds are desperately needed to provide humanitarian aid at scale and protect millions from hunger and disease.

Facing the worst food insecurity in a decade, the need to safeguard lives and livelihoods in Malawi is urgent. Many smallholders and vulnerable families will harvest little to nothing from their maize field and require emergency food assistance to protect their families' health and nutrition.

Stuart Kent, Emergency Food Security and Livelihoods Advisor, Oxfam

Oxfam's response

Oxfam has reached over 400,000 people with assistance. This includes cash to buy food, tools to improve crops and seeds including more resilient options to drought such as sweet potato vines.

Overcoming hunger

Oxfam has identified 'hotspot' areas of food insecurity resulting from minimal harvests and is targeting households most in need, including vulnerable groups such as children, pregnant and lactating women, those affected by HIV and AIDS, the elderly, disabled people and orphans. To meet people's immediate needs Oxfam is providing emergency cash grants, as this approach allows markets to keep functioning where food is available but unaffordable. Oxfam is also giving direct food assistance when required. 

Protecting livelihoods 

Oxfam is providing drought tolerant seeds, fertilisers, resilient crop varieties and agricultural tools to equip farmers for winter food production. We are providing training in conservation and agriculture and drought adaptation and assistance to prevent people from selling livestock and other vital assets to alleviate short term needs. 

Providing water 

Oxfam is working to improve water facilities. We are rehabilitating dried up boreholes and shallow wells and strengthening the management of these water points to ensure people have better access to safe and clean water both for drinking and for their harvests.

The help from Oxfam saved us. We used to stay indoors waiting to die because we had no energy to work, no hope on where the food would come from.

Godoliva, 93 year old woman from Kalikokha village in Kasungu district.

Blog: Surviving Malawi's new normal

Other ways to help