Photo source: Global Information Network - Photo: 2024

Drought Grips Southern Africa, Hunger Crisis Foreseen

By Lisa Vives, Global Information Network

NEW YORK | 1 April 2024 (IDN) — A severe dry spell in southern Africa linked to the El Nino weather pattern is crippling the nations of Malawi and Zambia.

Zimbabwe has seen much of its crops decimated, underlining concerns by the UN World Food Program that numerous nations in Southern Africa are on the brink of a hunger crisis.

Malawi has declared a state of disaster over the drought in 23 of its 28 districts. President Lazarus Chakwera says they urgently need more than $200 million in humanitarian assistance, less than a month after neighboring Zambia also appealed for help.

According to the World Food Program, nearly 50 million people in southern and parts of central Africa are facing food insecurity as one of the driest spells in decades devastates the region.

Mozambique and parts of Angola have also had severe rainfall deficits.

Humans aren’t the only ones affected. Conservation officials in Zimbabwe are reporting the rare occurrence of at least 100 elephants dying in a national park late last year because of waterholes drying up in the drought.

Malawian President Chakwera said he had been on a tour of his country to discover the extent of its drought crisis, and a preliminary assessment by the government found about 44% of Malawi’s corn crop had failed or been affected, and 2 million households were directly impacted.

Malawi has been repeatedly hit by weather extremes in recent years, emphasizing how some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries are feeling the worst effects of climate change even as they contribute the least to global emissions.

With this year’s harvest scorched, millions in Zimbabwe, southern Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar won’t be able to feed themselves well into 2025. USAID’s Famine Early Warning System estimated that 20 million people would require food relief in southern Africa in the first few months of 2024.

Many won’t get that help, however, as aid agencies also have limited resources amid a global hunger crisis and a cut in humanitarian funding by governments. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo source: Global Information Network

IDN is the flagship agency of the Non-profit International Press Syndicate

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