During the 2020-2021 cyclone season in the South-West Indian Ocean, tropical weather systems affected at least 681,000 people and brought heavy rainfall to Southern Africa, including in Botswana, Eswatini, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, causing death, displacement, flooding, landslides and damage to homes, infrastructure and livelihoods. In December 2020, at least 96,000 people across the region were affected by Tropical Storm Chalane, which hit Madagascar (139 people affected), Mozambique (73,254) and Zimbabwe (22,683). In January 2021, Tropical Cyclone Eloise, swept through large parts of the region, bringing heavy rainfall and strong winds, including in Madagascar, Mozambique and South Africa. Eloise killed at least 12 people (One in Madagascar and 11 in Mozambique) and affected more than 467,000 people across the region, including 2,800 in Madagascar, 441,690 in Mozambique, 3,200 in South Africa and 20,270 in Zimbabwe. Mozambique’s central provinces, which were still recovering from the devastation wrought by Cyclone Idai in 2019, were hardest-hit by Tropical Cyclone Eloise. The heavy rains also exacerbated the African Migratory Locust (AML) outbreak in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In other parts of the region, erratic and uneven rainfall caused drought. Between November 2020 and January 2021, the Grand Sud of Madagascar was affected by the most severe drought since 1981, leaving an estimated 1.14 million people in the Grand Sud and 203,453 in the south-east of the country severely food insecure (IPC phases 3 and 4) from January to April 2021. This was the second consecutive drought in the Grand Sud region, which was already struggling to recover from the severe drought it endured during the 2019-2020 season. In Angola, hunger is on the rise as the country experiences its worst drought in decades, with below average rainfall in Cuanza Sul, Benguela, Huambo, Namibe and Huíla provinces in the western-southern part of the country.
Meanwhile, in Mozambique, tens of thousands of people continued to flee conflict and violence in the Cabo Delgado Province in the first months of 2020, leaving more than 1.3 million in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. There were also at least 792,000 refugees and asylum seekers across 12 countries in the region, with the majority in Tanzania and South Africa.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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