Lesotho + 5 more

Southern Africa - Complex Drought Fact Sheet #6, 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 Situation Report # 5 dated June 7, 2002.

BACKGROUND

Southern Africa is currently facing a regional food security crisis, due to a combination of 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 in many areas. 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 on the verge of a serious food crisis, with almost half the population at risk. The potential for humanitarian food crises also exists in Malawi and Zambia. Poor and vulnerable households in Mozambique, Swaziland, and Lesotho will also require humanitarian assistance. The governments of several countries in Southern Africa have declared national disasters due to actual and anticipated food shortages, including Malawi (February 27), Lesotho (April 22), Zimbabwe (April 30), and Zambia (May 28). Since the beginning of 2002, the U.S. Government (USG) has provided almost $52.7 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.


NUMBERS AT A GLANCE

POPULATIONS REQUIRING EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE
FOOD NEEDS
COUNTRY
IMMEDIATE (JUNE - AUGUST 2002)
BY MARCH 2003 (DECMBER-MARCH 2003)
ESTIMATED UNCOVERED CORN DEFICIT (METRIC TONS)
LESOTHO
80,400
444,800
116,500
MALAWI
545,000
3.2 MILLION
208,000
MOZAMBIQUE
355,000
515,000
50,000
SWAZILAND
144,000
231,000
15,200
ZAMBIA
1.3 MILLION
2.3 MILLION
275,000
ZIMBABWE
5.3 MILLION
6.1 MILLION
1,405,000
TOTAL
7.7 MILLION
12.8 MILLION
2,069,700
Source. The WFP and FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Missions.

Total FY 2002 USG Humanitarian Assistance to Southern Africa: $52,667,388

CURRENT SITUATION

Regional.

The most recent figures from the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) indicate that 7.7 million people are now threatened by starvation in Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and that this figure will likely rise to 12.8 million by the end of the April 2002-March 2003 consumption year. WFP is currently feeding millions of people in the region. In the last few weeks, WFP's caseload doubled from 2.3 million to 4.6 million people. The sharpest expansion is in Malawi, from 260,000 beneficiaries up to 2.1 million.

WFP and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) co-hosted a regional consultation on Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa, on June 6 and 7. Government representatives (donors and recipients), U.N. agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC), and USAID's Famine Early Warning Network (FEWS NET) participated in the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to review findings of country-specific WFP/FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessments conducted throughout the region in April and May and reach consensus on both the magnitude of the crisis and the required scale of the humanitarian response, both food and non-food assistance.

The meeting underscored the urgency of mounting an immediate response to ensure adequate availability of food in the affected region from now through March 2003. In addition, emphasis was placed on the need to complement food aid with substantial non-food assistance to address associated vulnerability in the areas of health/nutrition, water and sanitation, and agricultural recovery.

According to WFP and FAO, the six affected countries have a gross cereal production shortfall of approximately 3.45 million MT. Of this total, the U.N. estimates that approximately 1.2 million MT of cereal will need to be supplied in the form of emergency food aid, while the balance of more than 2 million MT will be supplied through commercial or other imports for sale in local markets.

WFP is now preparing its regional emergency operation (EMOP) in response to the crisis, which is expected to be released on June 18 and will start July 1 for a duration of nine months. WFP is planning to ask donors for $350 to $400 million to try to avert potential famine in Southern Africa. WFP's goal is to reach some 12.8 million people with approximately 1.6 million MT of food aid comprised of cereals and complementary food commodities. The population in need will increase dramatically in the months to come, when the meager yield of this year's harvest is consumed. Currently, an estimated 7.7 million people need assistance. This will increase to 11.2 million in September to November, and peak at 12.8 million for the period December to March.

WFP's response strategy will rely on careful targeting of the most vulnerable populations affected, including households headed by children, females and elderly people; people living with HIV/AIDS; and young children. WFP has established a Management Coordination Unit for the upcoming regional appeal. WFP staff is already operational in the office in Johannesburg.

On June 10, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture formally announced at the World Food Summit in Rome the release of 275,000 MT of wheat from the Emerson Trust. The wheat will be exchanged for an equal value of corn, beans, and vegetable oil (approximately 190,000 MT) and used to provide emergency food assistance to Southern Africa. The Emerson Trust is a food reserve administered under the authority of the Secretary of Agriculture, who is authorized to release food from the reserve for urgent, unanticipated humanitarian relief. While the Trust is held in wheat, the 1998 Africa Seeds of Hope Act allows the Secretary of Agriculture to swap wheat for commodities of equal value.

Underlying Vulnerabilities: HIV/AIDS and Chronic Malnutrition. High 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 and endemic diseases, such as cholera and malaria. The high rates of HIV/AIDS also exacerbate the effects of the drought because households have even fewer capable members to produce food or generate income with which to buy food.

In response to the ongoing HIV/AID pandemic in the Southern Africa region, 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. USAID/AFR also supports a regional HIV/AIDS program in Southern Africa that focuses on cross-border activities in the region.

Chronic malnutrition also creates an underlying vulnerability to the current food crisis. According to the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), chronic malnutrition has resulted in stunting, which is inadequate height for age, among a high percentage of children under five in the Southern Africa region: 27% of children under five in Zimbabwe are stunted, 30% in Swaziland, 36% in Mozambique, 44% in Lesotho, 49% in Malawi, and 59% in Zambia.

Logistical Challenges. The limited capacity of the Southern Africa region's 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 is working with other partners, including the USG, to formulate recommendations for prioritizing cargo and utilizing the best routes.

According to WFP, the movement of humanitarian cargo in Southern Africa will rely heavily on the Mozambique ports of Beira, Nacala, and Maputo, as these ports serve neighboring Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi. In particular, heavy reliance will be placed on the port of Beira because of its considerable capacity, and the availability of dual modes of inland haulage - road and rail. In general, port capacity in Mozambique may exceed overland transport capacity, which could cause congestion to occur in the rail system. In order to avoid this, the ports of Durban in South Africa and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania will also be used to bring commodities to Malawi and Zambia. WFP reported that it would carry out a logistics capacity assessment of other ports in the region, such as Walvis Bay in Namibia, within the next two weeks.

Lesotho. The major causes of the current food security crisis in Lesotho include poor cereal crop production due to drought, unseasonable heavy rains, hailstorms, pest infestations, and poor soil management. WFP and FAO estimate that a total of 444,800 people throughout Lesotho will require emergency food assistance anticipate a food aid requirement of 50,000 MT.

Malawi. The primary cause of the current food security crisis in Malawi is low production during the 2001/2002 growing season, which followed a mediocre 2000/2001 harvest. Another important cause of the crisis is poor government management. WFP and FAO estimate that up to 3.2 million people will be affected by food shortages by the end of the coming year and anticipate a food aid requirement of 208,000 MT.

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. In addition, USAID/OFDA provided $100,000 through USAID/Lilongwe to the Malawian Red Cross to address the medical needs of those affected by a cholera outbreak that was aggravated by malnutrition resulting from current food shortages.

USAID/FFP provided 16,490 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food commodities, valued at $8,900,600. USDA contributed 3,000 MT of Section 416(b) emergency food commodities, valued at approximately $1,243,382.

Mozambique. The causes of the current food security crisis in Mozambique include a drought this year and devastating floods in 2000. Total crop failure this year is reported in many parts of the south and partial crop loss in areas of central Mozambique. In the north, Mozambique has an exportable surplus, which is estimated to be more than 100,000 MT. However, with poor infrastructure, including no viable transport route across the Zambezi River, the surplus production from northern Mozambique cannot easily be moved to deficit areas in the south. Instead, it will be exported to Malawi, which is a traditional practice in the region. WFP and FAO report that approximately 515,000 people will be affected by food shortages during the coming year and anticipate a food aid requirement of 62,000 MT.

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.

Swaziland. The major causes of the current food security crisis in Swaziland include a poor 2001/2002 cereal harvest resulting from a mid-season dry spell at the critical maturing stage, two previous years of reduced harvests, low levels of grain reserves, and inadequate imports. According to WFP and FAO, approximately 231,000 people in Swaziland will need emergency food assistance during the coming year, and the cereal food aid requirement is expected to be 12,000 MT.

Zambia. The primary cause of the current food security crisis is low production from the recently completed (2001/2002) growing season, due to drought in the southern and eastern portion of the country, which followed a poor corn harvest last year (2000/2001). Two years of poor harvests, plus a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, have caused the traditional coping mechanisms of the Zambian extended family to become overwhelmed. In addition, according to USAID/Lusaka, approximately 70% of the Zambian population lives below the poverty line. Many of these households have exhausted traditional coping mechanisms, such as liquidating household assets, including livestock. According to WFP and FAO, approximately 2.3 million people in Zambia will need emergency food assistance this year and the food aid requirement is estimated at 174,000 MT.

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. In addition, USDA contributed 15,000 MT of Section 416 (b) food commodities, valued at $7,093,354.

Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, a combination of factors, including drought, price controls, foreign exchange restrictions, and the government's expropriation of land from commercial farms have contributed to the food security crisis. WFP and FAO expect that by December 2002, 6.1 million people in Zimbabwe will need emergency food aid: 4.4 million people in communal and resettled rural areas, 850,000 urban residents, and 825,000 farm workers. WFP anticipates a food aid requirement in Zimbabwe of 705,000 MT. Zimbabwe thus accounts for 48 percent of the region's total population in need of food aid and 56 percent of the total estimated emergency food aid requirement.

Instances of the political uses of food in Zimbabwe have been alleged, including credible reports from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that opposition party members have been prevented from buying corn from the government-run Grain Marketing Board, and that jobs in public works programs have been reserved for government supporters. In addition, the children of opposition party members have been driven away from school supplementary feeding programs in rural areas. The reported political uses of food have been limited to food distributed under government control. USAID is working exclusively through international organizations and NGOs in Zimbabwe, which have in place systems to minimize the potential for politicization of food aid distribution.

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 8,500 MT of Section 416 (b) food commodities valued at $4,958,052.

USG HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE

Since the beginning of 2002, the USG has provided almost $52.7 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 has procured an additional 36,450 MT of emergency food commodities, valued at approximately $16 million, due to arrive in the region at the end of July.

USAID/FFP, USAID/OFDA, and FEWS NET continue to actively monitor the development of the food security crisis through regular USAID field assessments and participation in wider assessments conducted by the international humanitarian community. In June and July, USAID/OFDA will be carrying out technical assessment missions to Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, and Mozambique to more thoroughly assess the humanitarian needs in these countries.

To help prevent increases in malnutrition in Southern Africa, the USG is recommending a general food aid targeting approach to help meet the needs of specific categories of vulnerable groups. These categories include: 1) those with specialized needs, such as children under five, orphans, households affected by HIV/AIDS, and the elderly; 2) those with needs within the worst drought-affected areas, particularly rural households whose livelihoods have been most affected by drought and/or policy-induced shocks; and 3) those individuals in rural and urban households, including those affected by HIV/AIDS, whose extremely low incomes place them at the highest risk of severe under-consumption because of inadequate purchasing power.


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
USDA
$1,243,382
WFP Section 416(b) Food Assistance - 3,000 MT
Total USG Humanitarian Assistance to Malawi
$10,268,982
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
$7,093,354
WFP Section 416(b) Food Assistance - 15,000 MT
$7,093,354
Total USG Humanitarian Assistance to Zambia
$10,059,454
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
$27,547,652
Regional Assistance Summary
USAID
$39,372,600
USAID/OFDA
$125,000
USAID/FFP
$39,247,600
USDA
$13,294,788
Total USG Humanitarian Assistance to Southern Africa Crisis
$52,667,388

Click here for the Southern Africa Complex Drought map.

Tamra Halmrast-Sanchez
Acting Director, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance

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