Blantyre - The number of people needing food aid to survive in Malawi increased last year when the destitute southern African state's economy hit a tailspin after its former president picked a fight with donors, a report released on Monday said.
The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee - a grouping of government and U.N. relief agencies - said the number of people facing food shortages has increased by 200,000 in 2011 to 1.63 million, which is 11 percent of Malawi's population.
"While general food security conditions appear favourable, localised acute food insecurity is being experienced in southern Malawi. Those affected will require support for a period of three to eight months," it said.
Malawi's economy had been teetering on the brink of collapse after former President Bingu wa Mutharika told donors, whose support usually accounted for about 40 percent of the budget, that he could run the country without their help.
New President Joyce Banda, who came to office in April after Mutharika died of a heart attack, has worked to restore aid flows, putting the economy on more stable footing.