As we write this, Africa is suffering from the strongest El Niño it has faced in decades, causing major floods and droughts throughout Africa, leading to rising economic losses and major impacts on the lives and livelihoods of millions across the continent. Countries across the continent are declaring states of emergency, and are calling on the international community for support.
Cyclical drought, food insecurity, cyclones, floods, disease outbreaks, and complex emergencies present significant challenges to vulnerable populations throughout the Southern Africa region. Between FY 2007 and FY 2016, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP) provided humanitarian assistance in response to a diverse range of natural and manmade disasters.
The El Niño induced drought resulted in 15 percent drop in regional cereal production from 29 million tonnes in 2015 to 26 million tonnes in 2016 which is about 11 percent decrease compared to the five-year average1 . Southern parts of Malawi, Mozambique and Madagascar as well as most of Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Botswana and Namibia have been significantly affected by this drought.
Approximately 40.8 million people (22.5% of rural population) will be food insecure in Southern Africa up to March 2017.
SADC declares Regional Drought Disaster and launches a Regional Humanitarian Appeal for assistance to support the ongoing and planned response efforts of its Member States.
The Humanitarian Appeal is a result of the negative impacts of the 2015/16 El Niño induced drought, the worst in 35 years,
Implications of Seasonal Climate Forecasts for Agrometeorology in 2016/2017
SARCOF is predicting normal to above normal rainfall in the southern parts of the region, while normal to below normal rainfall is expected in the northern areas
The latest model forecasts have reduced La Niña expectations, and suggest near-equal chances for neutral ENSO and weak La Niña conditions through end of 2016.
15 September 2016, Johannesburg
Summary of conclusions and recommendations
Participants of the meeting:
RC and/or UNCT members from 12 countries in the southern Africa region, UN Regional Directors or their representatives, NGO regional Directors or their representatives, IFRC, SADC, World Bank, AfDB, regional UN agency staff.
Main conclusions and recommendations:
Session 1: Humanitarian response
The SADC region is experiencing a devastating drought episode associated with the 2015/2016 El Nino event which threatens to impact negatively on livelihoods and quality of lives. The region experienced a delayed onset of the 2015/2016, rainfall season, followed by erratic rains. Analysis of rainfall performance shows that the October to December 2015 period, which represents the first half of the cropping season, was the driest in more than 35 years in several southern parts of the region
Due to extremely low, erratic and uneven distribution of rainfall, coupled with extreme heat waves Botswana experienced one of the worst drought conditions leading to low hectarage ploughed or planted.
The yield forecast drastically declined with the national estimated production for cereals standing at 7,382 metric tons (MT) which is 3% of the national cereal requirement of 300,000MT.
To cover the food deficit of the 1.1million people identified as in need, P176 million ($83 million) is required.
The region experienced in many parts of the countries, the below normal rainfall conditions depicted by the devastating drought episode associated with the 2015/2016 El Nino event which threatens to impact negatively on livelihoods and quality of lives in the Region.
The SADC Climate Services Centre (CSC) had predicted, in August 2015, during SARCOF-19 the below normal rainfall conditions. This was consistent with the observed poor rainfall performance.
The current rainfall 2016/17 outlook is the opposite (reverse) of the last season.
The El Niño weather event has been in a neutral phase since May. Nevertheless, it continues to have a devastating impact on vulnerable people in parts of Eastern and Southern Africa, Asia and the Pacific, the Dry Corridor in Central America, and Haiti in the Caribbean. This event will also cause long term consequences for public health, nutrition, livelihoods, water and sanitation.
While the 2015-2016 El Niño weather event is now over, humanitarian needs continue to grow, and are not expected to peak until early 2017 as food security continues to deteriorate in many regions. WFP, working closely with partners on the ground, is rapidly scaling up life-saving operations for communities reeling from the catastrophic effects of El Niño.
The 2015/16 agricultural season in Southern Africa was the driest in 35 years. In a region where over 70 percent of the population is dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, and following two, and in some cases three, consecutive years of drought, El Niño has had devastating impacts on the lives and livelihoods of farmers and herders.
Climate variability is the greatest threat to the long-term economic viability of dryland farms.
In order to counter these uncertainties, many farmers turned to diversification as aa survival strategy.
One such farmer is Mr Nonofo Bareeleng, a 38-year-old resident of Kang in Kgalagadi District. He is not a novice to farming because he grew up in a family where agriculture buttered their daily bread. Armed with such background, he knew that farming would be a gateway to greener pastures in his life.
Otse, Botswana – When Rose Matuulane was pregnant five years ago, she had to wait for a nurse to visit her small village, Otse, to provide antenatal check-ups. When the nurse could not make it, Ms. Matuulane had to travel 84 km to the nearest clinic, in Shoghong, arriving the day before so that she could rise early and queue for hours.
If she or any other woman additionally needed a family planning consultation, cervical cancer screening, HIV testing and counselling, or HIV treatment, they would have to come back another day, waiting again for hours.
Today I announce the Australian Government will provide further support to southern Africa in response to the acute food shortages caused by severe El Niño conditions in the region.
Australia will provide $10 million to the World Food Programme to deliver food and nutritional support to 11.9 million drought-affected people in countries in southern Africa.
More Countries Joining Ban Treaty
(Geneva, September 1, 2016) – Cluster munition attacks in Syria and Yemen are causing unacceptable civilian suffering and deserve a strong response, Human Rights Watch said today during the release of the Cluster Munition Monitor 2016 report.
The Government of Mauritius, in cooperation with the African Union Commission (AUC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), will host a major conference of governments and partners in Africa which will examine progress in disaster risk reduction across the continent and the ongoing challenges of responding to extreme weather events which have left 60 million people in severe need across the region.
Les disparités entre les genres coûtent quelque 95 milliards de dollars US par an en moyenne à l’Afrique subsaharienne et ont culminé à 105 milliards de dollars de pertes en 2014 (soit 6 % du PIB régional), compromettant de ce fait les efforts du continent en faveur d’un développement humain et d’une croissance économique inclusifs, indique le Rapport.
Gender inequality is costing sub-Saharan Africa on average $US95 billion a year, peaking at US$105 billion in 2014– or six percent of the region’s GDP – jeopardising the continent’s efforts for inclusive human development and economic growth, according to the Africa Human Development Report 2016.