The U.N.\'s World Food Program (WFP) said Tuesday it needs $48 million in food aid for 1.6 million people in Malawi who will face hunger due to bad crops. \"It is estimated that those needing food assistance in the southern African country will rise to 1.6 million people during the peak of the lean season early next year,\" the WFP said in a joint statement with Britain\'s Department for International Development (DFID). Britain Tuesday became the first country to contribute to the appeal when it donated $4.7 million in food aid. WFP country director Abdoulaye Diop said in the statement that he hoped \"other donors will follow the example\" of Britain. The government of Malawi has pledged 25,000 metric tons of maize, Diop said. \"We are conscious that many people are struggling due to the poor harvest and high prices in some parts of the country and are committed to supporting the government\'s efforts to ensure no one goes hungry,\" Sarah Sanyahumbi, head of DFID in Malawi, said in the statement. \"Prolonged dry spells, high food prices and economic difficulties have left many people across Malawi struggling to find enough to eat this year,\" the joint statement said. The number of people facing food shortages in Malawi has increased by 200,000 since 2011 to 1.63 million, which was 11 percent of the population, a report by the Malawi government and U.N. relief agencies showed in July.