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Caritas Commission launches a Relief Programme to some of most hard to reach areas in Northern Malawi

Bishop Martin Mtumbuka (left) and District Commissioner, Mr Richard Hara(third from right), conducting a symbolic distribution during the launch

Karonga Diocese through Caritas Commission, a development arm of the church, is implementing a relief programme in Chitipa, Karonga and some parts of Rumphi District in Northern Malawi. This is in response to food shortage due to low yields in the 2015/2017 production season which was affected by drought and floods. Malawi has seen an increase to severe weather conditions in the past 20 years. The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee(MVAC) estimated that 6.5 million people would be food insecure. Karonga Diocese with assistance from Pope Francis has rolled out the programme to cover .......... vulnerable households in the three districts. It reaches out to some of the most hard to reach areas in the country like Tchalo in Rumphi District which can only be accessed by a boat. This is in line with the moto of the Diocese which is " we shall go to them". The project will run for three months from February to April which considered to be the lean months of the year. The launch of the project was done on Monday, 20th March, 2017 and was graced by Right Reverend Martin Mtumuka who is the head of Karonga Diocese.

Malawi, in the Northern Province, has been hit by floods again

Area affected by floods in Karonga District
Some of the affected households

Northern Malawi especially Karonga District has been hit by floods again. It's a mixed bag for the community. For the rice farmers this might be a good year in terms of yields because of the fertile alluvial soils which come along with floods. Increased runoff from Misuku highlands and other places in Chitipa District carries with it essential nutrients which fertilizes the rice growing fields in the plains of Karonga District. More than 60% of the rice is grown under paddy conditions. While for community at large, including rice farmers, its hell again because of the shocks that come along with flooding. Preliminary reports indicate that three people are dead, over 2000 households are affected. In addition, there is extensive damage to crop fields because of wash away, loss of livestock, loss of property including houses. The most affected people are the vulnerable households who have no access to better land for settlement and end up constructing in flood prone areas. These include female headed households, elders and the disabled.

Climate Smart Agriculture is a new approach to reducing food security at household level in Mzimba, Malawi. Farmers acknowledge that apart from improving productivity and yields, the technologies are inclusive because they can be adapted by the women farmers