Southern Africa: Food Insecurity - 2015-2017
Early warning signs provide alarming indications of looming significant food supply shortages that are likely to impact on the next marketing season. The rains experienced in late March and early April provided some relief to livestock farmers, but arrived too late for both staple foods and cash crops. These adverse weather conditions are likely to reduce crop production in southern Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar and South Africa. The negative impact of flooding will also affect food security in Malawi, Madagascar and Mozambique. (OCHA, 29 May 2015)
Nearly 29 million people are currently food insecure in southern Africa region mainly due to the carry-over effects of the past poor harvest season combined with other structural factors. Unless a two-track approach is quickly taken to address the current food insecurity and to establish measures to mitigate against the El Niño effects, the existing food insecurity will deepen and increase in scope with its effects will last till 2017. (Southern African Food and Nutrition Security Working Group, 17 Nov 2015)
The combination of a poor 2014/15 season and an extreme early dry spell during the 2015/16 rainy season to date (November to February) over southern and western Madagascar has resulted in an intense drought...It is now estimated that close to 1.14 million people are food insecure in seven districts of southern Madagascar (80% of the population). About 665 000 people are severely food insecure and in need of urgent emergency food security support until the end of the 2016/17 lean season...On 22 March, the government of Madagascar has declared a state of emergency for southern Madagascar. (ECHO, 30 Mar 2016)
Lesotho last had normal rainfall between April and May 2015... An estimated 15-30 percent of Lesotho’s population is in need of humanitarian assistance to help them cope with this acute drought situation. The Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee (LVAC) report for 2015 indicates deterioration in the food security situation with the number of people in need going from 447,760 to 463,936 (an increase in prevalence from 26% to 33%). (IFRC, 06 Apr 2016)
In Malawi, the prolonged dry spells and floods not only affected maize production but other crops such as ground nuts have also been affected, and harvests are down by 21%. This left more than 2.8 million people in Malawi food insecure for a period of between three to 8 months. 25 out of the 28 Districts in Malawi were affected. Of the 2.8 million people affected 886,204 were living in the hard hit flood-affected districts and 1,947,008 were in districts affected by poor rainfall. An estimated 20% to 40% of Malawi’s population were at that time reported to be in need of humanitarian assistance to help them cope with the acute food shortage. On 12 April 2016, the President of Malawi declared a state of national disaster as a result of prolonged dry spells during 2015/2016 season. (IFRC, 18 Apr 2016)
Mozambique is facing severe drought in the Southern and Central region of the country affecting approximately 1.5 million people. The Government activated the institutional red alert in the most drought affected provinces such as, Tete, Sofala, Gaza, Inhambane and Maputo aiming to intensify and expand the response actions, disburse additional funds planned for emergency situations and mobilize additional resources through the cooperating partners. (OCHA, 04 May 2016)
Based on preliminary results, the ZimVAC has indicated that the prevalence of rural food insecurity in Zimbabwe will be higher than the 30 percent revealed by the January 2016 Rapid Assessment. The global acute malnutrition (GAM) prevalence is likely to increase beyond the 5.7 percent indicated in January. (WFP, 14 Jun 2016)
Between October 2014 and February 2015, Namibia experienced highly erratic rainfall patterns that negatively impacted the planting and cultivation seasons. The recent 2016 assessment done by the office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Agriculture estimated that 729,134 people were food insecure and 595,839 need immediate assistance due to the drought situation. Prolonged dry spells and extensive flooding characterized the planting season and resulted in delayed planting and destroyed crops. As a result, the 2014/15 crop production yields were 46% below average which put parts of country at high risk of food insecurity. (IFRC, 03 Aug 2016.)
November marks the normal start of the lean season in most of the region, but most countries experienced an earlier than normal start to the lean season this year because of the impact of the El Niño-drought in late 2015 and early 2016. Poor households in the most affected parts of the region including areas in Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe continue facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity outcomes with increasing areas likely falling into Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes during the peak period (Jan-Mar 2017) in the absence of adequate humanitarian assistance. (FEWS NET, 23 Dec 2016)
Southern Africa now facing the peak of the El Niño-induced drought food security crisis, which is expected to last at least until the harvest in March/April 2017. Until then, WFP and its partners will maintain expanded operations, aiming to reach more than 13 million vulnerable people with relief, recovery, resilience and development activities ... WFP reached 9.9 million people in December 2016 and 10.6 million in January 2017. As of March 2017, $833 million has been raised for the humanitarian programmes in the RIASCO Action Plan, leaving a gap of $448,000. However, without additional funding, critical humanitarian needs will not be met. (OCHA, 6 Mar 2017)
In support of SADC’s appeal, RIASCO launched its Action Plan on 27 July, which was revised in December 2016. The Action Plan prioritized seven countries: Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. The Action Plan was based on three pillars: a humanitarian pillar, setting out immediate needs in the seven priority countries; a resilience pillar undertaken in parallel to humanitarian efforts; and a macro-economic pillar, which sets out policy options for governments to address the long-term impacts. The plan requested $1.3 billion to provide humanitarian assistance (pillar 1) for 13.8 million people up to April 2017, of which $900 million has been received (70 per cent). (OCHA/RIASCO, 17 Jul 2017)
- [Report on the RIASCO Action Plan for the El Niño-induced drought in Southern Africa 2016/2017, 12 Jul 2017]
- SADC: Regional Humanitarian Appeal (Jun 2016)
- FAO Southern Africa El Niño Response Plan (2016/17)
- RIASCO Action Plan for Southern Africa: Response Plan for the El Niño-induced Drought in Southern Africa (May 2016-Apr 2017)
- UNICEF El Niño Eastern & Southern Africa Region Investment Case (23 Jun 2016)
Freelance journalist based in Harare
Part of a special project that explores the impact of climate change on the food security and livelihoods of small-scale farmers in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe
GWANDA, 4 August 2017
Maize seed in drought-prone regions of Zimbabwe should by now come with a government health warning: “Planting can seriously damage your well-being”.
Read more on IRIN
Provision of humanitarian aid in the form of cash transfers has gained significant momentum over the past few years. Research and evidence on certain aspects of cash transfer programmes (CTP) has been well documented, particularly regarding the efficiency and effectiveness of cash.
Parts of central semiarid areas likely to be in Crisis during the lean season
The occurrence of transboundary animal diseases - especially those that can be transmitted to human beings from animals - poses grave socio-economic consequences for Southern Africa. They affect food and nutrition security, human health, livelihoods and national economic development.
In May, WFP ended the El Niño-induced drought EMOP. WFP assisted in total over 230,000 beneficiaries with emergency assistance, of which 142,000 received Cash Based Transfers (CBT). In May, 56,973 people received CBT.
In June, WFP assisted in total 7,932 beneficiaries through the Food by Prescription programme. Assistance to Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) is planned to resume in August 2017.
WFP’s Food by Prescription project remains underfunded, as a pipeline break, is expected in September 2017.
WFP Executive Board approved the Namibia Country Strategic Plan (2017 - 2022). The CSP supports the Government in its drive to meet Sustainable Development Goal 2 – Zero Hunger. The CSP’s aim is to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture in Namibia by 2030.
WFP and the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture conducted training for 70 School Feeding focal points from 35 schools in Khomas region.
• The relief assistance distributions continued as planned immediately after the country’s general elections. June marks the end of relief interventions.
• The Humanitarian Country Team in Lesotho organised a Media Breakfast and a Media Field Trip.
• The manual to make Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) nutrition sensitive was developed by stakeholders.
The effects of the 2015 El-Nino induced drought lasted well into 2017, and affected a quarter of Lesotho’s population of 2.2 million.
A US$20 million Social Assistance Project received an additional US$20 million from the Bank as part of the emergency response.
Cash top-ups of 500 maloti (about US$38) per household helped parents put food on the table and keep their children at school.
During the first half of 2017, 369,042 children were screened for acute malnutrition and 23,631 severely acute malnourished (SAM) children were treated with UNICEF support.
UNICEF supported 8,050 conflict returnees from Malawi, living in a camp in Tete, with 1,610 hygiene kits and the construction of 130 emergency latrines in collaboration with National Institute for Disaster Management -Tete
7,500 children were assisted with temporary learning spaces through the construction of TARPA Tents in Inhambane
- Households in Hhohho and Lubombo are resorting less to negative coping strategies
- Households headed by women continue to engage more in negative coping than those headed by men
- Food consumption improves in Manzini
- Maize meal prices remain higher than the five-year average
- Sugar bean prices fall
• The chronic drought crisis continues to affect an estimated 1.13 million people in the south, including 605,982 children.
• Heavy rains in northern and southern regions at the beginning of the year elevated the risk of cholera outbreaks and other water-borne diseases. As of June 2017, the cumulative number of suspected cholera cases stands at 455 (Soyo – 218, Cabinda – 236, and Luanda – 1. In total 24 deaths have been reported with ten deaths reported in Soyo and 14 in Cabinda. The last fatal case was reported during week 22 in Cabinda.
Matrice de suivi des déplacements
L'OIM Madagascar a mis en œuvre son programme de matrice de suivi des déplacements (DTM-Displacement Tracking Matrix en anglais) afin de mieux comprendre les déplacements de population engendrés par la sécheresse et fournir des informations essentielles aux acteurs gouvernementaux et humanitaires sur le sujet.
UNICEF, with support from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), continues to provide safe drinking water to drought-affected populations. Construction work and mobilization has commenced in four drought-affected districts to provide safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene messages to targeted 17,000 people including 7,160 children (3,650 girls);
Since January 2017, 685 children (375 boys and 310 girls) have been admitted and treated for severe acute malnutrition (SAM);
Faced with climate change, uncertain markets and government policies they see as unhelpful, many farmers feel ill-equipped to decide how much of which crop to plant and when
By Busani Bafana
LILONGWE, Malawi, Aug 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Elias Kanyangale is ecstatic about his maize harvest. Balancing on a homemade ladder, the farmer retrieves cobs from a full granary, the bounty of this year's good rains, which broke three years of drought in Malawi.
On 8 August a total of 351 Congolese refugees (121 families) were successful relocated from Mussungue reception centre to the Lóvua site.
By the end of the current week the full relocation of Mussunge reception centre to Lóvua is expected to be completed.
Malaria infection rates remain similar to past week, 348 in both centres (last week 335 were registered).
A summary of the learnings and recommendations from an internal and external evaluation of the Emergency Cash-First Response to Drought-Affected Communities in the Southern Provinces of Zimbabwe project which was carried out from August 2015 to May 2017. The external evaluation was carried out by Oxford Policy Management and is titled Zimbabwe ‘Cash First’ Humanitarian Response 2015-17.
What is cash transfer programming?
Luanda - The embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany has made available one million Euros to mitigate the damage caused to the population of Cunene, due to phenomena such as drought and floods, according to a press release that reached Angop on Thursday.
According to the note, this availability resulted from an effort made by the Angolan government, through the Ministry of Environment and partners, to seek immediate and medium-term solutions to mitigate the effects of drought and floods that has been hitting the province and the people of Cunene.
The Department of Water and Sanitation says Western Cape farmers can only hope for more rains during this rainy season to enable them to harvest more crops before the rains begin to wane at the end of October.
A weekly report published by the department this week stated that last week’s heavy rains in the Western Cape brought some relief to locals, as dam levels increased from 27.3% to 28.2%, raising water storage in the province to 475.5 cubic metres.
Edited by: Siri Eriksen, Lars Otto Naess, Ruth Haug, Aditi Bhonagiri and Lutgart Lenaerts
Volume 48 Issue 4
Humanitarian crises appear dramatic, overwhelming and sudden, with aid required immediately to save lives. Whereas climate change is about changing hazard patterns and crises are in reality rarely unexpected, with academic researchers and humanitarian and development organisations warning about possible risks for months before they take place.