• Overall humanitarian needs decrease as Southern Africa recovers from 2015/2016 El Niño-related drought conditions
• Tropical Cyclone Ava results in more than 50 deaths in Madagascar
• Recent analyses project mixed food security outcomes across Southern Africa through mid-2018
• Countries across Southern Africa continue to recover from prolonged drought conditions associated with the 2015/2016 El Niño climatic event. Favorable rainfall during 2017 resulted in above-average harvests in some areas, and the number of people in the region requiring emergency food assistance decreased from 18.1 million people in 2016 to 4.4 million people in 2017—an approximately 75 percent decrease.
• Some vulnerable populations continue to require humanitarian assistance as a result of drought conditions. On October 23, 2017, U.S. Ambassador Robert T. Yamate redeclared a disaster in Madagascar for the fourth consecutive year due to the effects of drought in southern regions of the country.
• Dry conditions and above-normal temperatures intensified from December to midJanuary across many areas of Southern Africa, threatening agricultural production and food security conditions, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET). In contrast, above-average rainfall in the northern half of the region—including northern Malawi, northern Mozambique, Tanzania, and northern Madagascar—has supported crop development, but could contribute to flooding and increasing the risk of waterborne diseases, such as cholera.
• Fall armyworm (FAW)—an invasive species of caterpillar that can damage staple and cash crops—continues to damage crops in Southern Africa. As of October 2017, all mainland Southern Africa countries, with the exception of Lesotho, had detected and reported FAW infestations, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Host governments in affected countries are implementing activities to respond to, mitigate, and monitor FAW-related impacts on agriculture in the region.