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Malawian president declares state of disaster in 23 districts

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Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera has declared a state of disaster in 23 districts of the country hit by a dry spell caused by El Nino, which has left those districts with little or no harvest.

The Malawian leader made the declaration in a televised address Saturday evening at his state residence in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital.

The “initial estimate is that close to 600,000 metric tonnes of maize valued at 357.6 billion Kwacha (over 13.67 billion U.S. dollars) will be required for the humanitarian response programme,” he said.

Chakwera said the declaration follows his tour across the country in the past few months to establish the effects of the harsh conditions that Malawians are facing in the wake of climate change.

According to the Malawian leader, close to 2 million farming households and 749,113 hectares of maize, representing 44.3 percent of the national crop area, have been affected by the harsh conditions.

He said other important crops like rice, soy beans, cowpeas, and groundnuts have also been affected.

The president asked both national and international organizations, such as the United Nations family, the World Bank, and all other well-wishers, to offer help.

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