Africa

Record 45 million southern Africans are food-insecure as lean season bites

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In Numbers

A record 45 million Southern Africans are food insecure as the region enters the peak of the lean season (January-March 2020)

WFP to support 8.3 million people in 8 countries: Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Madagascar, Namibia, Eswatini, Lesotho and Malawi

An additional USD 284 million is required to meet urgent food needs (USD 205 million of the required USD 489 million secured to date)

Highlights

Immediate funding is required for WFP to continue assisting those struggling to feed themselves and avert a deeper disaster.

As climate-related natural disasters are becoming more frequent, multi-year funding is crucial for sustainable and effective impact.

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Situation Update

The scale of the regions hunger crisis is unprecedented. As we enter the peak of the lean season, the number of food insecure people in the 16-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) is set to reach a record 45 million.

Driven by climate change, millions of people are experiencing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity. The severity of the situation is largely a consequence of the cumulative effects of climate-related natural disasters in the form of recurrent widespread drought — the region has only had one normal rainy season in the last five years — cyclones and persistent flooding.

For hard-hit families in a region heavily dependent on rain-fed smallholder farming, this means: limited food stocks; fewer meals; more children out of school; the distress sale of livestock and other assets; and other negative coping strategies.

Afflicting urban as well as rural communities, the hunger crisis is aggravated by rising food prices and mounting joblessness, posing a risk of political instability. It is also deepening acute malnutrition in particularly vulnerable communities.

The crisis could deepen this year. Forecasts indicate an increased likelihood of below-normal rainfall in many parts of the region in January-March 2020, the crucial growing period ahead of the main April-May harvest.

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