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U.S. Second Lady Announces $20 Million in Food Assistance to Malawi

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Machinjiri, July 19 - During her ongoing three-day visit to Malawi, the Second Lady of the United States of America, Dr. Jill Biden, today announced the United States is donating $20 million (MK14 billion) in food assistance to support vulnerable, food insecure communities in Malawi.  This brings the United States' total contribution to the humanitarian response to $74.7 million (MK52 billion) since October 2015.

"The United States remains committed to supporting the region, including Malawi, during the difficult months ahead.  I'm so pleased to announce today $20 million in assistance to Malawi through the UN World Food Program.  The announcement today brings the total United States assistance to $74.7 million since the start of the food crisis in October," said Dr. Biden while visiting a United States Agency for International Development (USAID)-supported Food for Peace project in Traditional Authority Machinjiri.

U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Virginia Palmer added, "We are working very closely with the government of Malawi and other development partners to ensure hunger does not roll back the important development gains made in Malawi, particularly for women and girls."

Over 6.5 million people in Malawi are in need of humanitarian assistance, according to the 2016 Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC)-an increase from 2.8 million people during last year's agricultural season.  Southern Africa is experiencing a historic drought exacerbated by the strong impacts of the El Niño weather event.  The government of Malawi released a disaster declaration in April 2016 due to extreme drought conditions exacerbated by El Niño.

The United States has mobilized an early and integrated response to El Niño's impacts, including assistance to meet immediate needs and adaptation of development and resilience efforts to address longer term vulnerabilities, mitigate impacts, and protect gains made. The international community must coordinate quickly and at scale now to meet immediate needs as well as taking steps with the government of Malawi to build resilience to recurring droughts and other climate risks.

Since 2012, the United States has provided over $151 million (MK105 billion) of food assistance to Malawi.  In addition, through President Obama's Feed The Future and Global Climate Change Initiatives, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting activities valued at approximately US$25 million annually to reduce food insecurity, poverty, and under-nutrition by increasing agricultural production and helping communities adapt to climate change.