The worst drought in the last 40 years and rising food prices have resulted in high acute food insecurity in the Cunene, Huila and Namibe provinces of South-Western Angola. The poor harvests have severely affected people’s access to food in this region, which is highly dependent on agriculture, and has also adversely affected the nutrition situation. As food reserves are depleting, the situation has deteriorated and will likely worsen during the lean season.
Humanitarian assistance until the next harvest is needed to prevent further deterioration.
Acute Food Insecurity (AFI)
An IPC Acute Food Insecurity analysis of 17 municipalities of Southern Angola found that, between July and September 2021, around 1.32 million people (49% of the analysed population) have experienced high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above), of which 38% are in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) and 12% in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency). These people face difficulties in accessing food or are only able to meet the minimum food requirements through crisis and/or emergency coping strategies. Between October 2021 and March 2022, the number of people in IPC Phase 3 or above is expected to rise to around 1.58 million people (58% of the analysed population), of which 42% are likely in IPC Phase 3 and 15% in IPC Phase 4. Three of the municipalities are also expected to move to a worse phase (Chicomba, Moçâmedes and Tômbua).
This takes into account that these are months of scarcity characterised by rising food prices, and that the next harvests will only take place from March onwards if the next rainy season is normal.
High levels of acute food insecurity are present in all municipalities. However, the municipalities of Cahama, Curoca and Ombadjia (Cunene), Gambos (Huila), and Virei and Camuculo (Namibe) have the highest prevalence of their population in IPC Phase 3 or 4, with more than 60% of the total population in these two phases between July and September 2021. The high acute food insecurity in this region can mainly be attributed to the recurrent effects of drought which has reduced both agricultural and livestock production and led to an increase in food prices. Other contributing factors are loss of animals through disease or theft and the locusts. Households who have moved with their livestock in search of better living conditions are of great concern, as they need to find shelter and livelihoods that can guarantee access to food.
Acute Malnutrition (AMN)
An IPC Acute Malnutrition analysis of 10 municipalities in Southern Angola has revealed that around 114,000 children under the age of five are suffering or are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition in the next 12 months and therefore require treatment. Between April and September 2021, the municipalities of Humpata and Jamba in Huila Province, and Bibala and Moçâmedes in Namibe Province had Serious levels of acute malnutrition (IPC AMN Phase 3), the municipalities of Cuanhama and Cuvelai (Cunene), Chibia and Quilengues (Huila) and Camucuio (Namibe) had Alert levels of acute malnutrition (IPC AMN Phase 2), and the municipality of Namacunde, in the province of Cunene, the least affected, had Acceptable levels of acute malnutrition (IPC AMN Phase 1).
Factors contributing to the high levels of acute malnutrition include inadequate and poor dietary intake, mainly due to high levels of acute food insecurity and inadequate care and feeding practices, and the high prevalence of infectious diseases, mainly due to inadequate access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation, low vaccination coverage and low health seeking behaviour.
For the period of October 2021 to February 2022, a projection analysis of the situation suggests that the rainy season, characterized by food shortages and high incidence of acute malnutrition, may lead to a deterioration in all municipalities, thereby leading to a shift in phase from the current classification.
For the four municipalities currently classified in IPC AMN Phase 3 (Serious), the situation could deteriorate to IPC AMN Phase 4 (Critical). The five municipalities classified in IPC AMN Phase 2 (Alert) could move to IPC AMN Phase 3, and the municipality of Namacunde classified in IPC AMN Phase 1 (Acceptable) could move to IPC AMN Phase 2.