Over 35,000 refugees in Malawi risk starvation from January next year if the international community does not respond to the call for support, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has warned.
In a joint statement released on Friday and made available to Nation Online the two UN agencies say there is an imminent disruption of food assistance for 35,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Malawi, urging the international community to commit US$4.2 million needed to support them in 2019.
According to the statement, without funding, food rations will be suspended from next January, the peak of the lean season in between harvests.
“Refugees are very often exceptionally resilient, but lives for thousands of refugee and asylum seeker families will be dire without food. This will have a devastating impact on the health and nutrition of thousands of families unless more support is immediately made available,” UNHCR Malawi Representative, Monique Ekoko is quoted as saying in the statement.
Due to limited access to arable land for farming and other means of earning a living, the displaced are largely dependent on outside help.
“WFP assistance makes up over 90 percent of the food consumed by refugees living in Malawi,” further reads the statement quoting WFP Malawi Representative, Benoit Thiry.
The current funding supporting refugees and asylum seekers in Malawi ends this December according to WFP Malawi Office reports officer Cheu Mita.