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El Niño Throws Malawi Into Severe Drought

Malawi urgently needs more than $200 million in humanitarian assistance.

Malawi has declared a state of disaster over drought in 23 of its 28 districts. The country has been repeatedly hit by weather extremes in recent years.

The President, Lazarus Chakwer says the country urgently needs more than $200 million in humanitarian assistance. He also announced that 2 million farming households need food as food supplies have been crippled by a severe dry spell that’s been linked to the El Niño weather phenomenon.

The U.S. government’s aid agency, USAID said that more than 20 million people in southern Africa would urgently need food aid in early 2024, partly due to the El Niño effect.

El Niño is a natural, recurring weather phenomenon that causes warming of the sea surface in portions of the Pacific Ocean. It has an impact on world weather, resulting in below-average rainfall in southern Africa. Some scientists say that climate change is making El Niños stronger and their impacts more extreme.

The 2015-2016 El Niño caused a catastrophic drought across southern Africa, the worst in 35 years, according to the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs.

President Lazarus Chakwera stated that he was on a tour of his country to determine the extent of the drought issue, and a preliminary evaluation by the government revealed that around 44% of Malawi’s corn crop had failed or been affected. He said the country required approximately 600,000 metric tonnes of food aid and appealed to the international community for assistance.

Melissa Enoch

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