Lesotho + 5 more

Southern Africa - Complex Drought Fact Sheet #3, Fiscal Year (FY) 2002

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published


U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
BUREAU FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT, AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE (DCHA)
OFFICE OF U.S. FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE (OFDA)

Southern Africa Complex Food Security Crisis

Note: The last fact sheet was dated May 17, 2002 and titled Southern Africa Complex Drought.

Overview

Southern Africa is currently facing a regional food security crisis, due to adverse climate conditions for two consecutive growing seasons, mismanagement of grain reserves, and questionable government policies, primarily in Zimbabwe. While a drought extends across much of the region, the worst affected countries include Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Lesotho, Mozambique, and Swaziland are also affected. To date, the U.S. Government (USG) has provided more than $49.5 million in emergency humanitarian assistance in response to the food security crisis through the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Office of Food for Peace (USAID/FFP), the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The majority of the humanitarian assistance has been emergency food relief provided by USAID/FFP. In addition to these contributions, USAID/FFP, USAID/OFDA, and USAID’s Famine Early Warning System (FEWS NET) are actively monitoring the development of the food security crisis through regular USAID field assessments and participation in wider assessments conducted by the international humanitarian community. The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) is currently providing emergency food assistance to more than 2.6 million people in the region. Early reports indicate that the crisis may be similar in magnitude to the 1995-1996 drought, which affected approximately six million people.

Country
Population Requiring Emergency Food Assistance
Period
Source
Lesotho
Information available is unclear
Malawi1
545,000
June-August
WFP/FAO
2,140,000
September-December
WFP/FAO
3,200,000
December-March
WFP/FAO
Mozambique3
250,000-300,000
6-7 months
GRM
350,000
2-4 months beginning in late 2002
GRM
Swaziland2
126,000
GOS
Zambia2
400,000
WFP
Zimbabwe4
3,000,000
June 2002
FEWS NET
5,000,000
March 2003
FEWS NET

1 Affected population figures for Malawi represent cumulative totals. The period marks the time period in which additional populations are expected to become vulnerable.

2 Affected population figures for these countries are estimates of the total number of people in need of immediate food assistance as of May 2002.

3 Affected population figures for Mozambique are not cumulative and represent different vulnerable populations. The period reflects the expected duration of humanitarian assistance.

4 The FEWS NET estimate is reflects a cumulative total and the period marks the point at which populations are expected to become vulnerable.

Region

According to the regional Drought Monitoring Center located in Harare, Zimbabwe, rainfall during the first three months of the rainy season, which extends from October to April in Southern Africa, was within normal ranges throughout much of the region. However, between January and March, dry periods occurred across large sections of the region, particularly from southern Zimbabwe eastward into southern Mozambique, resulting in crop failures and limited production.

The regional drought, combined with political, economic, and social conditions specific to each country, has resulted in national and household food shortages. The potential for large-scale humanitarian crises exists in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia, and, to a lesser extent, in Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) estimates an overall maize deficit of 3.22 million metric tons (MT) within the SADC region.

Normally, food stocks carried over from the previous year help offset production shortfalls. This year, however, regional stocks are exceptionally low, as they were drawn down to fill the previous year’s food shortages.

Zimbabwe has traditionally been a food exporter, supplying much of the food imported by food deficit countries in the region, particularly Zambia and Malawi. However, significant shortfalls in 2002 agricultural production in Zimbabwe are having a direct impact on the price, availability, and accessibility of food stocks throughout Southern Africa.

Joint WFP and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions-, working with SADC’s Regional Early Warning System and FEWS NET, are underway or recently completed in the six worst affected countries in the region. The purpose of these assessments is to evaluate the 2001/2002 production season, current stock levels, and import plans, in order to develop detailed analyses of the food and non-food humanitarian assistance requirements during the April 2002 to March 2003 consumption year. The results are expected in early June.

High prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS in much of the region leave large potions of the population increasingly susceptible to health problems associated with food shortages, including malnutrition. In addition, those suffering from both malnutrition and HIV/AIDS are increasingly susceptible to endemic diseases, such as cholera and malaria. USAID’s Africa Bureau (USAID/AFR) is supporting AIDS prevention, control, care, and support initiatives, as well as programs for HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children, in Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Namibia. USAID/AFR also supports a regional AIDS program in Southern Africa that focuses on cross border activities in the region.

Deterioration of the region’s logistics infrastructure could hamper the ability of SADC countries and the international relief community to implement a large-scale response to the food security situation.

Lesotho

The Prime Minister of Lesotho declared a national disaster on April 22. This is the second consecutive year of poor maize and sorghum production due to heavy rains and frost.

According to SADC, Lesotho normally produces only half of its cereal requirements and imports the remainder. Faced with low agricultural production, households in Lesotho typically rely on a variety of coping mechanisms, such as using remittance income sent by family members laboring in neighboring countries to purchase food. Consequently, it is unlikely that Lesotho will require large amounts of emergency food assistance.

Malawi

The President of Malawi declared a national disaster on February 27 due to drought-related food shortages. The most severely affected regions of Malawi include parts of the Central, Southern, and Lakeshore regions.

U.S. Ambassador Roger A. Meece declared a disaster for Malawi on March 8 due to the drought-related food security crisis. In response, USAID/OFDA provided $25,000 through USAID/Lilongwe, which was combined with $37,000 in development funds, to enable Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to divert 630 MT of P.L. 480 Title II development food stocks to support new supplementary feeding activities. Medecins Sans Frontieres/Luxembourg (MSF/L), Save the Children/United States (SCF/US), and CADECOM (local CARITAS) are implementing the supplementary feeding activities.

USAID/FFP provided 16,490 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food commodities, valued at $8,900,600, which are now in route to Malawi. These commodities come from the 35,330 MT of food stocks that USAID/FFP originally intended to pre-position in the region.

According to the Government of Malawi (GOM), the total maize shortfall for the 2002-2003 consumption year will reach 600,000 MT.

The U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently completed a rapid assessment of the nutritional status of children in Malawi and found that approximately 45,000 children are currently facing severe malnutrition. UNICEF expects the situation to further deteriorate with the approach of the lean season, which will occur between January and March 2003.

UNICEF and WFP recently began a supplementary feeding program for 15,000 children and 18,000 pregnant and lactating women. WFP reports that admissions to WFP-supported Nutrition Rehabilitation Units continue to be high.

According to UN OCHA, the cholera crisis that continues to affect Malawi has been aggravated by malnutrition, resulting from the current food shortage. The current crisis has claimed 1,000 lives and peaked in February and March 2002 with 40,000 reported cases. In response to the cholera outbreak, USAID/OFDA provided $100,000 through USAID/Lilongwe to the Malawian Red Cross to address the medical needs of those affected by the outbreak.

Mozambique

According to FEWS NET, Mozambique’s national production of cereals will be 11% higher than last year. The Government of the Republic of Mozambique (GRM) estimates that the northern part of the country will have an above average harvest and surpluses are expected to be exported to Malawi and Zimbabwe. Such exports have increased substantially in recent years and Mozambican farmers are concerned about the impact of large regional food aid interventions on future markets.

Following recent harvests, additional maize has begun to enter markets in Mozambique. As a result of increased demand in the region by neighboring countries, FEWS NET reported that substantial quantities of surplus maize produced in portions of Niassa, Zambezi, and Nampula provinces are being exported to Malawi via bicycle.

FEWS NET reported that the local price of maize in Mozambique has fallen during the last three months, as is the normal seasonal trend, due to increased post-harvest availability.

USAID/Maputo reported that the areas most affected by the drought include Inhambane, Gaza, Sofala, and Tete provinces. Even in years with significant rainfall, these areas are traditionally prone to drought. However, pockets of food insecurity are developing in normally food secure areas, such as coastal Nampula Province, where cassava disease is causing major losses, and the Zambezi River basin, where families displaced by last year’s floods remain vulnerable. FEWS NET expects food insecurity to be highest between September and December, just before the primary season crop is harvested.

In response to the food security situation, USAID/FFP provided 9,890 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food commodities, valued at $4,791,300, which are currently in route to Mozambique. These commodities come from the 35,330 MT of emergency food stocks USAID/FFP originally intended for pre-positioning in the region.

Swaziland

According to the Government of Swaziland (GOS), the dry spell between December 2001 and January 2002 caused crop failures in much of the country. Crop yields are projected to be even lower than last year’s reduced harvest.

USAID/FFP reports that the expected maize deficit for the coming year is 134,000 MT. SADC estimates that 40,000 MT of this deficit will need to be met by emergency food assistance. In early 2002, the GOS purchased 50,000 MT of maize from South Africa for distribution to affected populations. This imported maize is expected to be consumed by the end of May 2002.

USAID/FFP and USAID/OFDA conducted an assessment of the drought and food shortage situation in Swaziland from April 22-25. The assessment indicated that the Lowveld area is the most severely impacted, with the Lubombo Plateau and portions of the Middleveld and Highveld areas are also experiencing crop failures and food shortages. The food security situation in rural areas has been further exacerbated by steadily deteriorating socio-economic conditions.

Zambia

Preliminary indications from the recently conducted WFP/FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission are that the number of people affected by drought-related food insecurity may be far higher than the 400,000 initially estimated by WFP.

Preliminary estimates from the Government of Zambia indicate that Zambia’s agricultural production will provide for slightly less than half of the country’s domestic maize requirements.

In response to the food security situation, USAID/FFP provided 8,500 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food commodities, valued at $2,966,100, which are now in route to Zambia. These commodities come from the 35,330 MT of emergency food stocks USAID/FFP originally intended to pre-position in the region.

In addition, USDA contributed 15,000 MT of Section 416 (b) food commodities valued at approximately $7,900,000.

Zimbabwe

President Mugabe declared a disaster in Zimbabwe effective April 30 and appealed for international assistance as a result of food insecurity affecting communal lands, resettlement areas, and urban centers.

Preliminary estimates from the WFP/FAO assessment are that that this year’s agricultural maize production will be approximately 510,000 MT, less than half of last year’s output of 1,476,230 MT. Domestic maize production in 2002 will meet only one-quarter of Zimbabwe’s national maize consumption requirements.

FEWS NET reported that food prices normally drop at this time of year as the harvest reaches the market. While prices have dropped in some areas, there are signs that this may be short lived due to serious food shortages during the last marketing year, poor production this season, and anticipated food shortages in the months ahead. According to FEWS NET, many poor households will therefore have difficulty purchasing food, even if it is available in local markets.

FEWS NET indicated that an increased unemployment rate exceeding 60%, depressed wages, and rising inflation reaching 114% have eroded the purchasing power of the majority of the urban poor and compromised their ability to send remittances to their families in rural areas.

In response to the food security situation, USAID/FFP provided 34,430 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food commodities, valued at $19,912,528, through WFP and World Vision International (WVI) to support 633,000 beneficiaries. In addition, USDA contributed 8,5000 MT of Section 416 (b) food commodities valued at approximately $4,958,052.

U.S. Government Response

During the week of May 20, USAID/FFP allocated the 35,330 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food commodities that were to be pre-positioned in the region to Malawi. Mozambique, and Zambia. These commodities are currently in route to the region.

SAID/FFP and USDA have provided 93,260 MT of P.L 480 Title II and Section 416 (b) emergency food commodities to the region.

USAID/FFP also plans to procure an additional 37,500 MT of emergency food commodities, valued at approximately $15,000,000, for future use in the region.

Public Donation Information

In the interest of effective coordination of public response, USAID encourages the public to contact directly those non-governmental organizations (NGOs) currently working in the region in order to provide monetary donations. Cash donations are the preferred response to the emergency.

For a list of NGOs providing disaster assistance in the region, please visit USAID's website at http://www.usaid.gov. Those interested in providing specific technical relief services or commodities can obtain guidelines for private voluntary organizations through Volunteers in Technical Assistance's (VITA’s) Disaster Information Center at http://www.cidi.org.

USAID will not deviate from standard Denton Program procedures for transporting privately donated relief supplies. USAID will assist in prioritizing delivery of essential relief commodities. For more information, please refer to the Denton Program web site at http://www.dentonfunded.ida.org.

For additional information about the relief effort in Southern Africa, please refer to the Natural Disasters section of ReliefWeb at http://www.reliefweb.int/

For information about the changing food security situation in Southern Africa, please refer to http://www.sadc-fanr.org.zw/ and http://www.fews.net.


U.S. Government Humanitarian Assistance to Southern Africa

Agency
Implementing Partner
Sector
Regions
Amount
Malawi
USAID
$9,025,600
USAID/OFDA
$125,000
USAID/Lilongwe Supplementary Feeding
$25,000
Malawian Red Cross Health
$100,000
USAID/FFP
$8,900,600
WFP P.L. 480 Title II Food Assistance -16,940 MT
$8,900,600
Total USG Humanitarian Assistance to Malawi
$9,025,600
Mozambique
USAID
$4,791,300
USAID/FFP
$4,791,300
WFP P.L. 480 Title II Food Assistance - 9,890 MT
$4,791,300
Total USG Humanitarian Assistance to Mozambique
$4,791,300
Zambia
USAID
$2,966,100
USAID/FFP
$2,966,100
WFP P.L. 480 Title II Food Assistance - 8,500 MT
$2,966,100
USDA
$7,900,000
WFP Section 416(b) Food Assistance -15,000 MT
$7,900,000
Total USG Humanitarian Assistance to Zambia
$10,866,100
Zimbabwe
USAID
$19,912,588
USAID/FFP
$19,912,588
WFP P.L. 480 Title II Food Assistance - 20,120 MT
$11,657,300
WVI P.L. 480 Title II Food Assistance - 14,310 MT
$8,255,288
USDA
$4,958,052
WFP Section 416(b) Food Assistance -8,500 MT
$4,958,052
Total USG Humanitarian Assistance to Zimbabwe
$24,870,640
Regional Assistance Summary
USAID
$36,695,588
USAID/OFDA
$125,000
USAID/FFP
$36,570,588
USDA
$12,858,052
Total USG Humanitarian Assistance to Southern Africa Drought
$49,553,640

Click here to view the map of the Southern Africa drought.