U.N. agencies warn of hunger in southern Africa
United Nations agencies have warned that more than 45 million people across southern Africa are at risk of falling into a hunger crisis over the course of the next six months, with 11 million already suffering “crisis” and “emergency” levels of food insecurity.
Record-setting droughts, cyclones and flash flooding against the backdrop of economic hardship have exacerbated the difficulties across the 16-nation Southern African Development Community.
The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, International Fund for Agricultural Development and World Food Programme are jointly calling for urgent funding to avert a major food shortage.
Long term, the trio is also calling for investments to combat the environmental fallout of climate change and build the capacity of communities and countries to withstand them. The United Nations, for its part, plans to scale up food aid in the coming months and assist local farmers to increase their efficiency and output.
The countries that have been hit hardest so far are Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, Eswatini and Lesotho. The remaining seven countries include Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Comoros, Mauritius, Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania.
“We’ve had the worst drought in 35 years in central and western areas during the growing season,” said Margaret Malu, WFP’s acting regional director for Southern Africa.
“We must meet the pressing emergency food and nutrition needs of millions of people, but also invest in building the resilience of those threatened by ever more frequent and severe droughts, floods and storms.”