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Rainy season continues in Southern Africa
UN revises RIASCO plan due to increasing lean season needs in Madagascar, Malawi, and Zimbabwe
WFP anticipates break in the emergency food assistance pipeline in Madagascar
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.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) monitors trends in staple food supply and price trends in countries at risk of food insecurity. The Regional Supply and Market Outlook report provides a summary of regional staple food availability, surpluses and deficits during the current marketing year, projected price behavior, implications for local and regional commodity procurement, and essential market monitoring indicators.
The impacts of last year’s El Niño induced drought continues to be felt as an increased numbers of households across the region are facing significant food and livelihood protection gaps from June to September. Significant number of households in affected parts of Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Lesotho, and Swaziland continue to experience Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes. Between October and January, these outcomes are expected to deteriorate even further as food prices peak and supplies become scarce during the peak lean season.
- 17 million people will likely experience Crisis levels of food insecurity from January–March 2017, FEWS NET reports
- ZimVAC estimates more than 40 percent of Zimbabwe’s rural population faces food insecurity
- USAID contributes an additional $127 million for drought response activities in the region
- Approximately 18.3 million people in acutely drought-affected areas of Southern Africa will require emergency assistance between June 2016 and March 2017, according to the Southern Africa Development …
The region experiences an upsurge in the number of people needing immediate assistance
Following an El Niño-induced drought, Southern Africa is experiencing one of its poorest harvests in recent years, and an upsurge in households facing acute food insecurity. FEWS NET estimates that a higher than normal number of people are currently facing acute food insecurity and about 17 million people will be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) between January-March 2017, requiring immediate assistance.
UNAIDS and PEPFAR announce dramatic reductions in new HIV infections among children in the 21 countries most affected by HIV in Africa
Concerted global efforts have led to a 60% drop in new infections among children, which has averted 1.2 million new HIV infections among children in 21 priority countries since 2009
An extensive regional scale crop failure is expected in Southern Africa following an extremely dry cropping season. Consequently, the current regional cereal deficit of 7.9 million tonnes will increase steeply and unprecedented food price movements will continue through to the next harvest season. This will aggravate the food and nutrition security, health and HIV situation in the region.
Low regional cereal supply levels triggers price increases in parts of Southern Africa
Most households in Southern Africa depend on maize as their main source of food and energy, given the high volumes and ease with which it is produced. Alternative food crops that are consumed as substitutes include rice, wheat, sorghum, millet, and tubers such as cassava and potatoes. Consumption of these substitutes occurs mainly when maize is not available or among those households in areas where such substitutes are more easily available (for example, cassava in northern Mozambique).
The current rainfall season has been the driest in the last 35 years across several parts of the Southern Africa Region. Two consecutive below-average rainy seasons have significantly impacted crop and livestock production, cereal prices, water availability, and livelihoods.
Food and nutrition security in the region also remains extremely fragile, with the situation expected to worsen. Overall, 28 million people are estimated to be at risk of food insecurity.
More countries declare a state of disaster due to drought
Despite increased rainfall in southern parts of the region in January, most of the region continues to experience dryness into February, diminishing any hopes of crop recovery. The El Niño-induced drought is expected to result in below-average 2016 production in most of the region, including the top maize surplus-producing countries, South Africa and Zambia.
Significant January rains were received in drought-stricken areas in the southern half of the region, helping to reduce rainfall deficits. The overall benefit was however diminished by very high temperatures which increased evapotranspiration, as well as low early-February rainfall.
January rains following a long dry spell led to very late planting and replanting in parts of South Africa and Zimbabwe. Chances of the late-planted crops reaching maturity are low.
Illustrating the extent and severity of the 2015-16 drought
Africa Weather Hazards
Déclaration commune PAM, FEWS NET, JRC et FAO
Organisation des Nations Unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture (FAO) ; Réseau des systèmes d'alerte rapide aux risques de famine (FEWS NET) ; Centre commun de recherches de la Commission européenne (JRC) ; Programme alimentaire mondial (PAM).
Joint statement by FAO, EC-JRC, FEWS NET and WFP
FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; FEWS NET - Famine Early Warning Systems Network; JRC - European Commission's Joint Research Centre;WFP - World Food Programme
12 February 2016, Rome - Southern Africa is currently in the grip of an intense drought that has expanded and strengthened since the earliest stages of the 2015-2016 agricultural season, driven by one of the strongest El Niño events of the last 50 years.