AN emergency appeal has been launched to help millions of people in Malawi affected by drought.
Oxfam Scotland is urging people to make donations, with the first £70,000 raised to be matched by the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund.
Southern Africa’s worst drought in 35 years has been caused by the El Nino weather phenomenon.
About 6.5 million people in Malawi are facing severe food shortages, including 975,000 children under two who are at particularly high risk of malnutrition.
Donations from Scotland will contribute to the £12 million Oxfam needs to reach 650,000 people across five districts in the African country with life-saving humanitarian aid, as well as long-term support to build farmers’ resilience against future shocks.
Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “Scotland has a deep and long-lasting connection with Malawi and we are urging people here to give what they can to support Malawians at this critical time.
“The Scottish Government has generously offered to match donations from the public up to £70,000 - so any donations made by Oxfam supporters in Scotland will have twice the impact.
“Hunger isn’t inevitable. Lives can be saved and livelihoods restored in Malawi. But we must act together now to ensure that help reaches those who desperately need it.”
In addition to the emergency response, Oxfam is working with thousands of smallhold farmers, particularly women, in Malawi as part of a three-year project funded by the Scottish Government.
External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Scotland remains committed to being a good global citizen and to assisting developing countries, such as Malawi, in addressing the challenges they face, which is why we are match funding, up to £70,000, every pound raised by Oxfam Scotland’s public appeal until October 31.
“I would encourage everyone to consider supporting Oxfam Scotland’s efforts to assist the people of Malawi at this crucial time.”