Malawi is suffering the worst food crisis in a decade and needs urgent aid. Floods and then a drought wiped out their crops.
I work for Good Morning Britain and last month I travelled with presenter Charlotte Hawkins to Malawi to report on the food crisis there as part of ITV's Tackle Hunger Together campaign.
The region of Chikwawa is hot, remote and extremely poor with no electricity in most homes and no safe drinking water. TV production facilities in the country are almost non-existent, so we had to bring everything with us.
The 'Good Morning Britain' team in Malawi
Here I have detailed some of the statistics that made up our trip to Malawi:
- 1,400 miles and six days. This is the distance our satellite truck had to travel from Nairobi, Kenya and the same back again. The journey included racing across unsafe broken wooden bridges, bumpy unmade roads and having their tyres let down when they were asleep in the van one night. On the way back the truck took eight days as it got stuck at the border due to paperwork issues.
- 42 degrees and 240 litres. The first figure is the temperatures we were filming in. Chikwawa in Malawi is suffering a drought at the moment and urgently needs rain to help plant new crops. The second figure is the amount of bottled water we all drank to stop us dehydrating. We each got through six litres EACH a day!
- Also the children were desperate to get their hands on our empty water bottles. We thought they wanted to take them back and get money back from them, but it was actually so that they could use them as toys. They put stones in them and shook them and carried seeds and plants around in them.
- 85 thousand Kwacha. That's how much £100 bought you, but each day the rate is rising. Inflation is so high in Malawi, the rate changes daily. They only have 1000 Kwacha notes, so every time you went to the bank you came out carrying a stack of notes.
- Zero. The amount of flushable toilets available on location. The dehydration meant you actually didn't need to go that often, but if you did, we had to ask a local villager if we could use their hole in the ground.
- 2.8million people. More than 2.8million people in Malawi will go hungry over the next few months unless they get food assistance.
- 50kg. Is the weight of the bags of maize, women are given as aid to help them feed their families for a month. What was unbelievable was watching them carry it home on their heads in the searing heat. We couldn't even lift up one corner!
- 6.6 kg. The weight of 19-month-old baby called Ruth who was suffering severe malnutrition. Good Morning Britain presenter Charlotte Hawkin's baby is eight months old and she weighs over 8kg.
- 1000 days. The first 1000 days of life determine how a child will be for the rest of their life. If they are not fed properly then, then they will grow up physically and mentally stunted.
- 1. This refers to the new kitchen, storeroom and feeding shelter for a nursery school in Nskera that Charlotte helped build. As a result over 300 children are expected to attend school and get a nutritional breakfast every day. That's why the work of the World Food Programme is so valuable, offering babies and children porridge packed with extra nutrients and vitamins to help them grow and develop properly.
Just £5 will help feed a child breakfast for five weeks. To do so text TRY5 to 70750, the amount will be matched by the UK government.