Thyolo East: Hunger Bites Real Hard
Hungry families in Thyolo East have turned to pumpkin leaves for food as maize has literary become a luxury; not accessible and where available, not affordable.
Dependence on pumpkin for survival is actually retrogression as, before it, the community was relaying on mangoes which are fast getting out of season and no longer easy to get.
Fyness Nachuma, a single mother of seven, from Girmission village told us this week that the pumpkin leaves are boiled and taken as breakfast, lunch and super.
“The situation is dire here. We literary have no food. Before now, we could prepare elephant beans (kalongonda) for sell but those beans are no longer in season too. And it is so difficult to get anybody who can give us work for money to buy food,” she said.
We also met Modesta Chitokoto. She is aged 74. She lives with her husband who is much older and critically ill. She tells us that there have been days when the two have gone to bed hungry.
“Sometimes I beg food from our village headman. But for how long shall we be doing that?,” Chitokoto said.
The latest Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report projects that 5, 258 people of the area is around Matapwata Extension Planning Area are without access to food.
Over a hundred thousand people, the MVAC report says, have been affected in the whole of Thyolo district whereas the national figure for the affected by hunger is at 1, 879, 391.
Communications Officer for the Department of Disaster and Management Affairs, Chipiliro Khamula, said the department distributed relief food on a once-off relief maize distribution program to affected households in all the country’s 28 districts including Thyolo.