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Southern African Humanitarian Crisis Update - April 2007

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published

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HIGHLIGHTS

Regional: Early recovery efforts are underway across several countries in the region after months of emergency efforts. More than a million people's livelihoods are still fragile due to a loss of crops and other assets in Madagascar, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia. Humanitarian agencies are concerned about the ability of communities to rebound from these disasters.

Madagascar: Cyclone Jaya hit the northeastern coast of Madagascar on 3 April, resulting in more crop damage and further complicating relief efforts. Cyclonic storms and flooding since December have killed more than 150 people and severely affected 188,331 people. The UN and its partners developed a Flash Appeal in March to respond to earlier flood and cyclone related needs and are updating the appeal to include the needs from Cyclone Indlala and Jaya.

Mozambique: On 2 May the INGC officially declared an end to the flood and cyclone emergency. Recovery efforts are underway, including the resettlement of the affected families. Food assistance is being provided to roughly 209,000 flood and cyclone affected people up until May. Overall the Government estimates that 285,000 people lost some or all of their crops.

ZIMBABWE: On 25 April a FAO-WFP Crop Food and Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) commenced at the request of the government after two years successive drought. The food security situation is not expected to improve as this year's harvests have mostly failed due to the poor rains. Amidst a lack of foreign exchange, the government's position to import and distribute food is uncertain.

REGIONAL OVERVIEW

As the rainy season draws to an end, local authorities and aid agencies turn their attention to recovery efforts, including restoring services and infrastructure destroyed by floods and cyclones. More than a million people's livelihoods are still fragile due to a loss of crops and other assets, after several months of flooding, a string of intense tropical storms and cyclones and extreme drought in some parts of the region. Communities in Madagascar, Angola,

Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia are struggling to recover. Humanitarian agencies are concerned about the ability of communities to rebound from these disasters. If communities are not assisted sufficiently, they may have to adopt negative coping mechanisms such as selling the little assets they have to make it through the lean season. This will further compromise their vulnerability and exacerbate this cycle. This year's disasters have underscored the urgent need for humanitarian and development partners to jointly address the underlying causes of the 'triple threat' of food insecurity, HIV and AIDS as well as the weakened capacity of many governments to provide basic social services.

Madagascar is still reeling from the effects of six cyclones and tropical storms since December. The latest - Cyclone Jaya hit the northeastern coast of Madagascar on 3 April, resulting in more crop damage and further complicating relief efforts. Additionally, Madagascar's arid south is currently facing a severe drought, which has brought food insecurity and malnutrition. Cumulatively WFP indicates that 465,000 people are without adequate access to food. The UN and its partners developed a Flash Appeal in March to respond to earlier flood and cyclone related needs and are updating the appeal to include the needs from Cyclone Indlala and Jaya. The revised appeal amount is set to nearly double the original amount of US$ 9.6 million. However, as at 29 April, only fifty percent of the original amount was funded.

In Mozambique, recovery efforts are underway with the resettlement of families in the flood-affected districts of the Zambezi River Valley. According to INGC reports as at 20th April, 6,427 new home plots were allocated to affected families. Meanwhile, 107,000 people are still living in 52 temporary accommodation centres. Food insecurity is a pressing concern. Food assistance is being provided to roughly 209,000 flood and cyclone affected people up until May. Overall the Government estimates that 285,000 people lost some or all of their crops.

In Namibia, high water levels are still keeping thousands in camps after flooding in the northern Caprivi region in early March. Aid agencies warn it could take months before displaced residents can return home. Humanitarian partners caution that the water and sanitation situation in the camps will need to be addressed to avert possible outbreaks of disease.

Crops have been destroyed and people are currently surviving on government rations.

Overall, harvest prospects for the 2006/07 crop growing season in southern Africa are mixed. Good rains in much of the northern half of the region are expected to lead to above-average harvests in Malawi, northern Mozambique, and an average harvest in Zambia. However, poor harvests are expected in southern Mozambique, eastern and southern Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho. Apart from weather conditions, the main cause of poor yields and resulting food insecurity is the lack of working capital to buy improved seeds, fertilizer and animal draught power. Large seed and fertilizer input subsidy schemes implemented by the Governments of Malawi and Zambia and to a lesser extent, Lesotho have improved prospects for a favourable harvest.