Malawi experienced a number of weather related hazards during the 2014-2015 agricultural production season. The late onset of the rain season delayed planting of all major crops across the country so much so that by the time of the cessation of the rains, most crops had not yet reached maturity. Heavy rains and flooding in the month of January 2015, resulted in the loss of lives and damage to the infrastructure; the floods also severely destroyed field crops, caused wash-away of soil nutrients and affected farming activities such as planting, weeding, and ridging as well as fertilizer application.
Malawi also experienced dry spells in most districts for a period of 4 to 6 weeks, between February and March 2015; the combined result of the multiple challenges has resulted in a low production of most crops and subsequent increase in food insecurity.
As a member of the ACT Alliance (Action by Churches Together), Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is participating in the rapid response efforts related to this crisis. The PDA assisted response will include assessment and registration of affected communities and the provision of food items such as maize (flour), beans and cooking oil, with special attention given to vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, children under five, people with disabilities and the chronically ill.
PDA is also supporting the efforts of our mission partner in Malawi the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian(CCAP) as they work to help 100,000 affected families with food security. The Malawi Mission Network has compiled a devotional guide and guidelines for fasting for use by churches, presbyteries and agencies.