More than 11 million people are currently experiencing crisis/emergency levels of food insecurity (IPC Phases 3 and 4) in Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, Eswatini and Lesotho. This number will rise to 45 million across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the next six months, according to UN food agencies.
Southern Africa has been affected by late rains, extended dry periods, two major cyclones and economic challenges. These have been disastrous for food security in the region. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), temperatures in Southern Africa are rising at twice as fast as the global average.
The hunger crisis is further exacerbated by rising food prices, large-scale livestock losses and mounting joblessness. At-risk communities are facing rising levels of acute malnutrition.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are calling for more support for these countries in the form of urgent funding to avert a major hunger crisis. The agencies also call on the international community to invest more in long-term measures to combat the effects of climate shocks and to develop populations and countries which can withstand these shocks.
Margaret Malu, WFP's acting regional director for Southern Africa said, "We’ve had the worst drought in 35 years in central and western areas during the growing season. 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.”