News / Africa

    Food Resources Strained for Refugees in Malawi

    FILE - A Malawian man transports food aid distributed by the United Nations World Food Progamme (WFP) through maize fields in Mzumazi village near the capital Lilongwe, Feb. 3, 2016.
    FILE - A Malawian man transports food aid distributed by the United Nations World Food Progamme (WFP) through maize fields in Mzumazi village near the capital Lilongwe, Feb. 3, 2016.
    Lameck Masina

    Recent funding shortfalls have forced the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) to reduce rations and even suspend some food distribution at Malawi's Dzaleka Refugee Camp, home to 25,000 refugees from around the region. Officials say the food shortages are leading to sexual exploitation and violence.

    It’s 8 o’clock in the morning at Dzaleka refugee camp in central Malawi.

    Food rations

    Men and women wait to receive their monthly food ration from the U.N. World Food Program.

    A refugee receiving maize at Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi. (Lameck Masina/VOA)
    A refugee receiving maize at Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi. (Lameck Masina/VOA)

    Their situation is precarious, but they say one thing is certain — the food will not last for a month.

    The refugees used to receive seven different types of food items. Now it is down to three: maize, beans and cooking oil. And the U.N. had to cut the total amount of rations per person in half in the past year due to funding shortfalls.

    The camp takes in refugees from around the region including Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Somalia.

    One Congolese refugee said the lack of food pushed her husband to leave the camp.

    She said she is unable to  do anything that can earn money. She relies on food donation for survival.

    Malawian law prohibits refugees from engaging in business activities outside the camp.

    Violence, exploitation due to lack of food

    A recent survey by U.N. agencies found that lack of food is driving gender-based violence and exploitation at Dzaleka.

    Camp administrator Owen Nyasulu said it is a problem. “At least we get three complaints a day mostly from women to say that ‘husbands have sold food,’ or husbands have beaten them because there is no food at home to cook… Because the food is not enough so they [women] resort to the same things, risky behavior as well whereby young girls end up sleeping with older men. In some instances some young girls have ended up being pregnant,” he stated.

    Some have been raped, others have turned to prostitution for food or money to buy food. 

    A Burundian refugee said here at the camp she receives no money for buying clothes or soap and other day-to-day needs so she and others to bars and other drinking joints to look for money.

    And it can turn violent, said a 19-year-old Rwandan refugee who asked that VOA not use her name.

    She said there was a man who asked her to go his house where he would give her some food. But he ended up raping her, she said. "He even didn’t give me the food."

    Bags of maize ready for distribution at Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi. (Lameck Masina/VOA)
    Bags of maize ready for distribution at Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi. (Lameck Masina/VOA)

    Additional funding needed

    Members of the camp's peace committee said this girl’s stories are all too common but that most of the women don’t want to talk about their experiences publicly for fear of being laughed at or stigmatized.Full rations have resumed at Dzakela thanks to recent donations from the American and Japanese governments.

    But the WFP warns that a fresh influx of Mozambican refugees into Malawi since December is once again straining resources. The refugees, many of them children, are fleeing alleged abuses by government forces in pro-opposition areas.

    “While in the past we were mainly looking at food security needs of 25,000 people at Dzaleka, we now have to look in addition to that [at] the food needs of 11,000 new people coming from Mozambique,” said Coco Ushiyama, WFP Country Director.

    The WFP warned that without additional funding, acute food shortages and ration cuts at the Dzaleka camp are likely to return by August. 

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora