Over one million Angolans affected by drought

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Lubango - Studies of the food Resilience and Nutrition Security Programme in Angola (FRESAN) conducted in 2018 indicate that over 1.1 million Angolans living in the southern provinces of Huíla, Namibe and Cunene are affected by drought as a result of the climate change phenomenon.

Such number represents 12 percent of the rural population of Huíla, 99 percent of Namibe and 97 percent of the inhabitants in the rural areas of Cunene.

Data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) indicate that the province of Huíla is inhabited by just over 2.7 million people, while Namibe has 471,613 inhabitants and Cunene about 1.023 million.

According to the coordinator of FRESAN, Matteo Tonini, who spoke during a meeting with civil society organizations, climate change has negatively affected the livelihoods of the rural population in the country, significantly increasing vulnerability levels.

Matteo Tonini said that the drought has contributed to the reduction of food production and income of affected families and have made access to food difficult and, therefore, aggravating the nutritional status and prevalence of chronic malnutrition in children under five years of age.

"The situation is particularly worrying if we take into account climate models for the coming years, which provide for seasonal changes in the precipitation regime, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, expansion of arid and semi-arid regions and an increase in air temperature and of the sea, "he said.

In 2018, FRESAN signed a financing agreement with the European Commission, through the Camões Institute, to mitigate the drought among the populations affected by the food crisis, with a value of 65 million euros.

The funding will help to define the strategy for subvention by gathering information and opinions on the best models to be developed.

Meanwhile, the director of the provincial department of agriculture, fisheries and forest development, Mariana Soma, considered that the project in question is on the right track to address the difficulties that are visible in agro-pastoral communities, mainly due to climate changes.

She noted that the subsidies and support of the FRESAN project will be monitored by civil society organizations and includes the ways in which funding will take place, in order to implement the project in the context of resilience in the various municipalities.