Lesotho + 5 more

Southern Africa - Complex Drought Fact Sheet #4, 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: This Situation Report updates Southern Africa Complex Food Security Crisis Factsheet # 3 dated May 24, 2002

Background

Southern Africa is currently facing a regional food security crisis, due mainly to adverse climate conditions for two consecutive growing seasons in a number of countries, mismanagement of grain reserves in some countries, and questionable government policies, primarily in Zimbabwe. During the past production season, unusually dry conditions extended across much of the region, from southern Zambia eastward to southern Mozambique, resulting in crop failures and limited production. 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 is already on the verge of a serious food crisis, with large numbers of people at risk. The potential for large-scale humanitarian crises also exists in Malawi and Zambia. Poor and vulnerable households in Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho will also require humanitarian assistance. Although final production estimates are still pending from most countries, preliminary estimates from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) indicate an overall maize deficit of 3.22 million metric tons (MT) within the SADC region. The governments of several countries in Southern Africa have declared national disasters due to the food security crisis, including Malawi (February 27), Lesotho (April 22), Zimbabwe (April 30), and Zambia (May 28). Early reports indicate that the crisis may be similar in magnitude to the 1995-1996 drought, which affected approximately six million people. To date, the U.S. Government (USG) has provided more than $52.2 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) and 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.


Number at a Glance
Country
Population Requiring Emergency Food Assistance
Period
Source
Lesotho
444,800
WFP/FAO
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.

Total FY 2002 USG Humanitarian Assistance to Southern Africa $52,230,652

Current Situation

Regional. A major shipment of U.S.-donated relief food for the Southern Africa region arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on May 26. The U.S.-chartered vessel "Liberty Glory" carried the 33,230 MT of food commodities, valued at $13.3 million. The shipment included 16,940 MT of maize, beans, and vegetable oil for Malawi, valued at $8.9 million, and 8,500 MT for Zambia, worth $2.9 million. These commodities were quickly off-loaded for onward transport to Malawi and Zambia via truck and rail. The "Liberty Glory" is scheduled to arrive in Maputo, Mozambique on June 5-7 in order to deliver the remaining 9,890 MT of food, valued at $4.8 million, for use in Mozambique. In addition, USAID/FFP is in the process of procuring approximately 36,450 MT of additional emergency food commodities, worth $16 million.

Joint U.N. World Food Program (WFP) and U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions-, working with SADC's Regional Early Warning Unit and USAID's Famine Early Warning System (FEWS NET) have been recently completed in the six worst affected countries in the region. USAID staff participated as observers in the WFP/FAO assessments in Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The purpose of these assessments was 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. On May 29, WFP and FAO released preliminary reports of their findings for Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe. Preliminary results from the WFP/FAO assessments in Mozambique and Zambia are expected in the coming weeks. They report that at least 10 million people in these four countries are threatened by potential famine and that figure is likely to increase when the two other country assessments are completed.

The Toll of HIV/AIDS. High prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS in much of the region leave large portions of the population increasingly vulnerable 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 HIV/AIDS prevention, control, care, and support initiatives, as well as programs for HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children, in Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. They report that at least 10 million people in these four countries are threatened by potential famine and that figure is likely to increase when the two other country assessments are completed. USAID/AFR also supports a regional HIV/AIDS program in Southern Africa that focuses on cross border activities in the region.

Logistical Challenges. The limited capacity of the region's governments and the private sector to effectively utilize transport corridors and 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. WFP, the lead humanitarian logistics agency, is conducting detailed surveys of the region's logistics corridors and formulating recommendations for prioritizing cargo and utilizing the best routes.

Lesotho. Preliminary estimates from the WFP/FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission indicate that Lesotho's cereal production will be 74,000 MT, while total national consumption is estimated at 412,000 MT. This results in an import requirement of 338,000 MT. Commercial imports are estimated at 191,000 MT, leaving a food aid requirement of 147,000 MT, a large amount in proportion to the size of the country. WFP/FAO estimate that a total of 444,800 people throughout Lesotho will require emergency food assistance.

Lesotho is experiencing a second consecutive year of poor maize and sorghum production due to heavy rains and frost. In addition, the capacity of many households to cope with the production shortfall has eroded due to a variety of factors, including livestock theft and a decline in opportunities for wage labor such as agricultural work and migrant labor in South Africa.

Malawi. Preliminary estimates from the WFP/FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission indicate that cereal supply will be 1.7 million MT, while the national cereal consumption requirement is estimated at 2.2 million MT. This results in an import requirement of 485,000 MT. Commercial imports are forecast at 225,000 MT, leaving a food aid requirement of 208,000 MT.

The most severely affected parts of Malawi include sections of the Central, Southern, and Lakeshore regions. The U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates that 45,000 children in Malawi 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.

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.

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. 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. The Government of the Republic of Mozambique estimates that the northern part of the country will have an above average harvest and surpluses are expected to be exported to neighboring Malawi and Zimbabwe. However, southern areas of the country, including Inhambane, Gaza, Sofala, and Tete provinces, have been adversely affected by drought. 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.

Swaziland. According to the Government of Swaziland, 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. 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 estimates from the WFP/FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission released on May 29 indicate that Zambia's cereal production will be between 620,000 MT and 710,000 MT, which would result in a domestic cereal deficit between 378,000 MT and 468,000 MT. This would meet 57- 65% of the country's domestic maize requirements. In addition, WFP and FAO estimate that the number of people affected by drought-related food insecurity may reach 1.7 to 2 million people.

On May 28, Zambian President Mwanawasa declared a food security disaster for Zambia. The President appealed to the international community for humanitarian assistance to help Zambia feed its people during the crisis.

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

Zimbabwe. Based on the findings of their recently conducted Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission, WFP and FAO warn that Zimbabwe is facing a serious food security crisis and that humanitarian assistance is urgently needed to avert famine. Preliminary estimates from the WFP/FAO assessment indicate that Zimbabwe's cereal production is 670,000 MT, 57% down from last year's poor harvest and 69% down from production in 1999/2000. WFP/FAO estimate that six million Zimbabweans are vulnerable to food insecurity and will require 705,000 MT of emergency food assistance in the coming months.

FEWS NET reports that food prices normally drop at this time of year as the harvest reaches the market. While prices had initially dropped in some areas, according to FEWS NET, an increasing number of people are being priced out of the food market as staple food prices begin to rise. On the parallel market, the maize grain price has increased from ZW$36/kg to ZW$50/kg during the past seven days; while maize meal is selling at ZW$ 60 to ZW$75/kg on the same market, compared to controlled price of ZW$24/kg. FEWS NET also reports that, many poor households will therefore have difficulty purchasing food, even if it is available in local markets. FEWS NET estimates that between 4.5 and 6.7 million people -- which is a third to half of the country's population -- will require food assistance during the current consumption year.

An independent inquiry by the Danish group, Physicians for Human Rights, accuses supporters of President Mugabe of denying urgently needed food to tens of thousands of people in drought-stricken areas because they backed the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in recent elections. In April, WFP suspended distribution at one of their feeding centers where it was reported that food was being distributed only to supporters of the ruling party ZANU-PF. Distribution remains suspended until the situation can be resolved.

In response to the food security situation, USAID/FFP provided 34,430 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food commodities, valued at $22,589,600, 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.

USG Humanitarian Assistance

To date, the USG has provided more than $52.2 million in emergency humanitarian assistance in response to the food security crisis, including 96,260 MT of P.L 480 Title II and Section 416 (b) emergency food commodities. In addition, USAID/FFP also plans to procure an additional 36,450 MT of emergency food commodities, valued at approximately $16 million, for future use in the region.

In addition to these contributions, USAID/FFP, USAID/OFDA, and 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.


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
$22,589,600
USAID/FFP
$22,589,600
WFP P.L. 480 Title II Food Assistance - 20,120 MT
$13,241,600
WVI P.L. 480 Title II Food Assistance - 14,310 MT
$9,348,000
USDA
$4,958,052
WFP Section 416(b) Food Assistance -8,500 MT
$4,958,052
Total USG Humanitarian Assistance to Zimbabwe
$27,547,650
Regional Assistance Summary
USAID
$39,372,600
USAID/OFDA
$125,000
USAID/FFP
$39,247,600
USDA
$12,858,052
Total USG Humanitarian Assistance to Southern Africa Drought
$52,230,652

Click here for the Southern Africa Complex Drought map.

*USAID/OFDA fact sheets can be obtained from the USAID web site at http://www.usaid.gov/hum_response/ofda/situation.html