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Malawi: Acute Food Insecurity Situation Update | November - December 2020 and Projection for January - March 2021

IPC Acute Food Insecurity August 2020 Analysis Update

In the IPC Acute Food Insecurity analysis conducted for the period of November to December 2020, about 2.55 million people (14% of the analysed population) faced high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3) and required urgent humanitarian action to reduce food gaps, protect and restore livelihoods and prevent acute malnutrition. This follows a new urban assessment carried out in the four cities of the country and an update of the rural assessment carried out in August 2020.

In the projection update, which aimed to reevaluate the assumptions that were used to classify areas for the projection period covering the period from January 2021 to March 2021, around 2.64 million people (15% of the analysed population) are projected to be facing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or 4). 6.27 million people are projected to be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2), while 8.77 million people are projected to not be facing any acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 1). All the analyzed cities (Lilongwe, Blantyre, Mzuzu and Zomba) and three rural districts of Nsanje, Neno and Balaka are projected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). The remaining areas will likely be in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). Populations classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) include poor urban and rural households in the deficit-producing southern region, some parts of the northern, and central districts. These areas experienced floods and later, earlier than normal, tailing off rainfall, leading to localized production shortfalls, which exacerbated slow livelihood recovery from previous seasons and impacts of COVID-19 on remittances. The population in urban areas are more affected due to reduced income sources.

Key drivers

  • Flooding: In northern Malawi, parts of Rumphi and Karonga districts experienced flooding and waterlogging that damaged crops.
  • Dry spells: In southern Malawi, Nsanje and Chikwawa districts, as well as parts of Phalombe, Balaka, Mwanza, Neno, Zomba, and Chiradzulu districts, had localized dry spells and experienced early cessation of rainfall, which resulted in localized below-average production.
  • COVID-19: Though there was no lockdown, the country has registered job losses due to COVID-19, especially affecting the informal labor market. Remittances into the country were significantly reduced.
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