Simmering drought can cause food insecurity

14 January 2020 | Disasters

Yolanda Nel With Southern Africa experiencing a stream of devastating climate shocks in the past year, a total of 45 million people across the region will be severely food insecure from January to March this year.
According to a report by the World Food Programme (WFP) that was published earlier this month, western and central areas of Southern Africa have suffered the worst drought in 35 years. “The WFP is assessing activities including cash-based distributions in Namibia, while also providing transport and procuring pulses to complement government distributions in Zambia, the report read.
While Namibia’s situation is summed up as “simmering”, other countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo has reached boiling point. “Flash floods and landslides have affected more than 600 000 people since October 2019,” the report stated, adding that more than 5 000 people of which 4 500 were children under 5, died of measles last year.
Countries like Haiti are overheating, with political and social unrest that brought the country to a standstill since last September. This drove up food prices by 40% and hampers agricultural production and access to markets.
In an article published by WFP in October last year, there are more than 11 million people now experiencing crises or emergency levels of food insecurity in nine Southern African countries, including Namibia. Other countries are Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, eSwatini and Lesotho.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the WFP are calling for urgent funding to avert a major hunger crisis. They are also calling on the international community to step up investment in long-term measures to combat the impact of climate shocks and build the capacity of communities and countries to withstand them.

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