Mozambique: Drought - Office of the Resident Coordinator, Situation Report No. 1 (As of 08 January 2016)



  • There are 176,139 people under worrying food insecurity situation distributed in four provinces namely Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala and Niassa where poor households are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 31 ) outcomes at least until 2016 staple harvests;

  • In addition there are 575,455 people at risk of food insecurity especially in Zambézia, Maputo and Niassa provinces;

  • Up to date 50,360 people are receiving food assistance in Gaza and Sofala provinces;

  • Except in Tete and Manica provinces, the main source of cereals is the market instead of own production, indicating a low agricultural production.

575,455 people at risk of food insecurity

176,139 people in worrying food insecurity

50,360 people receiving food assistance

Situation Overview

In general, the 2014/2015 rain season in Mozambique had clear patterns in terms of rainfall occurrence and runoff volumes in the main river basins. In the first period of the season (October – December 2014) it was recorded negative deviations of rainfall (below normal) throughout the country.
On the other hand, the period from January – March 2015, was characterized by irregular rainfall occurrence and distribution resulting in different impacts in the three regions of the country. In the South region including Sofala and Manica provinces it was recorded rainfall shortage whereas in the North region including Tete and Zambézia provinces recorded excessive rainfall resulting in major floods in Nampula and Zambézia provinces.

The rainfall pattern recorded during the season resulted in normal to above normal runoff volumes in Buzi, Púngué, Zambeze, Licungo, Ligonha, Meluli, Lúrio, Megaruma, Messalo and Rovuma river basins (Central and North region of the country). In the South region, it was registered below normal to normal runoff volumes in Maputo and Umbeluzi river basins and below to very below normal in the major river basins such as Limpopo, Incomati, Save and coastal basins of Inhambane province.

This rainfall pattern is also most likely related to the current El Nino conditions which INAM informed that the major models indicates 99% chance of El Nino prevalence till end of the current rain season. El Nino in Mozambique has two different impacts: low rainfall – (drought) in the South region and excessive rainfall (floods) in the North region.

FEWS NET update as of December 2015, reports that the ongoing El Niño has led to a delayed onset of rains in much of central and southern Mozambique, by up to 40 days.

The lack of rains in the South region and some areas in the Central region affected significantly the agricultural production resulting in limited access to food as well as water for domestic use. In order to assess the food security and nutrition in the country, the Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition (SETSAN) conducted to quantitative assessment namely in May and November 2015.

The results from the assessment conducted in May 2015 indicated that the situation was worrisome in Gaza and Inhambane provinces where about 137,784 people (Gaza 71,665 people and Inhambane – 66,119 people) were under worrying food insecurity situation. These people, were opting for atypical livelihoods strategies to overcome the food shortage such as excessive consumption of wild fruits and cattle sale. The assessment also informed that in the remaining provinces, about 902,678 people were at risk of food insecurity.

The most affected districts by drought in Gaza province are Chicualacuala, Massangena, Mabalane, Guija, Massingir and Chigubo. The most critical situation is recorded in Chigubo district, where some families are having only one meal per day and the cattle is being moved far away looking for fodder and water. Still in Gaza province, Chigubo and Guijá districts, it was recorded the occurrence of 4.799 dropouts of students from School. In Inhambane province, the most affected districts are Panda, Funhalouro, Govuro and Mabote, however, the provincial government indicated that no food or water assistance was needed.

The Mozambique Food Security Outlook update as of December 2015 released by FEWSNET reports that, the midseason dryness during the 2015 growing season in areas of the south led to reduced crop yields and crop failure, as well as significant water shortages for human and livestock use. The combination of these shocks and the current slow start of the season has worsened food security outcomes for poor households in parts of Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala, and Niassa Provinces, who are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes at least until 2016 staple harvests.

The National Directorate of Agrarian and Sivilculture Services of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, conducted an agrarian season evaluation in 40 districts end of November, 2015. It was found that in general, in the north and central parts of the country up to the end of November, 2015, farmers had not yet started planting.

Exception was found in Tete province where 20% of the cultivated area was already with maize and beans and Zambezia where farmers had initiated planting in the beginning of November, mainly in the high and intermediary zones of the province.

In the South region, Gaza Province, it was registered the onset of insignificant rains in the 1ª decade of September in the coastal zone (Districts of Xai-Xai, Bilene and Manjacaze). The intensity increased slightly in 2ª and 3ª decades of October and some farmers started planting, however in November the rainfall occurrence was insignificant. In Inhambane province, until the end of November, only 25% of the cultivated area had been sown with maize and peanut. In Maputo, irregular precipitation during October and November also prevented farmers for planting.

According to FEWS NET update as of November 2015, maize grain prices between September and October continued to be above average and increasing in most markets. The increasing trend reflects a consistent dwindling of maize stocks in the surplus producing regions and increased consumer demand. However, although maize grain prices were 60 to 70 percent above the five-year average in most monitored markets in November, the prices of some marketed food substitutes such as cassava, maize meal, and rice remain closer to the five-year average and last year (FEWS NET - December 2015).

In November 2015, SETSAN conducted the second quantitative assessment on Food Security and Nutrition covering 55 districts. Preliminary results, indicate that from May to October 2015 the proportion of household with difficulties on accessing food increased. Another indicator monitored during the assessment was the source of food consumed and it was found that the main source of cereals except in Tete and Manica is the market instead of own production, which means low agricultural production in most of the provinces especially in Gaza, Maputo, Inhambane and Sofala provinces.

The updated SETSAN report (December 2015) estimates that currently there are 176,139 people under worrying food insecurity situation distributed in four provinces namely Gaza with 77,365 people, Inhambane with 75,565, Sofala with 14,006 and Niassa with 9,203 people (an increase of about 28% from May to November 2015). Furthermore, it is mentioned in the report that about 575,455 people are at risk of food insecurity especially in Zambézia, Maputo and Niassa provinces.

From May to November 2015, the number of people in acute food insecurity in Gaza and Inhambane provinces increased to 152,930 people. Furthermore, there are two additional provinces where the acute food insecurity worsened, Niassa and Sofala with total of 23,209 people. These people are struggling to satisfy their minimal food requirements and the number of people affected might increase in the coming months if the rains continues scarce as the majority of the people at risk relies on agriculture as the main source of food.

In November 2015, the Ministry of Health organized the second phase of the national health week including nutrition screening for children through measurement of upper arm circumference (MUAC). The results from this activity showed an alarming situation in several districts in the provinces of Manica, Nampula and Zambezia.

The government of Mozambique through the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) and the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) are already giving some response to the situation in terms of food and water in the critical districts and planning for a wider response where needed.