Mozambique

Mozambique: Food Insecurity Emergency Appeal MDRMZ012 Operation Update n°3

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Situation Report
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Appeal History:

  • This Emergency Appeal was launched on 22 April 2016 for CHF 1,702,895 Swiss francs to enable the IFRC to support the Mozambique Red Cross Society (CVM) to reach 14,767 people (2,953 households) in 6 districts: Magude and Manhiça in Maputo province, Mabalane and Chibuto in Gaza province and Funhalouro and Govuro in Inhambane province. It aims to provide assistance over the next nine months with a focus on interventions on the sectors of food security (carried out through cash) and livelihoods.

  • Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF): CHF 160,000 was initially allocated from the Federation’s DREF to support the national society to start up the operations by meeting immediate needs of affected people.

  • Operations update 1 and Operations update 2 were issued to give progress on the operation. IFRC, on behalf of Mozambique Red Cross appeals to various donors to support this Emergency Appeal to enable Mozambique RC meet the needs of vulnerable people in affected communities. Support was received from Japanese RC, Monaco RC and the Netherlands RC.

Summary:

The Mozambique Food Security Outlook Update released by FEWSNET in April 2016 showed that drought conditions intensified in early and mid-February in much of the south and parts of central Mozambique. The low rainfall in these areas, combined with high temperatures, led to low water availability and wilting of crops. This has resulted in further reduction in expected production. Following this dry spell, heavy rains set in across most parts of the country in late February and early March. However, these rains were generally too late to benefit crops in the affected areas due to the negative impact of the previous dry conditions. In some areas where crops had not succumbed to the preceding heat and dryness, such as coastal Inhambane Province, central Manica Province, western and eastern portions of Tete Province, and parts of the interior of Sofala Province, the late rains helped crops to reach maturity. The Crop and Early Warning Unit (DCAP) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA) indicated in mid-April that drought and excessive rains affected 67 out of the country's 154 districts. DCAP estimates nearly 879,000 hectares of mixed crops have been lost, with 3,000 hectares from excessive rains and the rest due to drought. According to MASA/DCAP, about 18% of the total planted area was lost. On livestock, MASA/DCAP estimated there were nearly 5,708 cattle deaths (approximately 0.32% of the estimated national total) due to drought, mainly in Maputo and Gaza Provinces.

The Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition’s Vulnerability Assessment Group (SETSAN/GAV) conducted a food security assessment in March in seven provinces through structured household interviews and community focus groups, along with visits to local markets to assess staple food prices. SETSAN/GAV determined that the overall level of acute food insecurity has deteriorated since November 2015, estimating 1.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. Tete is the province with the highest number of people in need (334,413), followed by Sofala (329,022), Zambézia (254,379), Gaza (202,282), Inhambane (129,827), Maputo (123,960) and Manica (92,484). However, the assessment does not provide any breakdown based on severity and/or timeframes. Overall, in six of the seven provinces (except Zambézia), SETSAN found that more than 98% of households had no cereal reserves and less than 10% were hoping to harvest some cereals. The majority of households had made at least three planting attempts, exhausting seeds for the upcoming second season and for the 2016/17 agriculture season. Dietary diversity has fallen since November, and on average 41% of households have an "inadequate" food consumption score. Based on a rapid mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) survey, global acute malnutrition (GAM) prevalence is critical in Tete and in Sofala Provinces (greater than 15%). FEWS NET participated in Tete Province, and the most vulnerable households with low or no income were resorting to wild foods at a higher frequency and for more prolonged use.

Based on the assessment results, SETSAN recommended prioritizing the provision of food assistance in areas with acute food insecurity needs since last year, which include the southern provinces of Gaza and Inhambane and parts of the central provinces of Sofala, Manica and Tete. SETSAN also recommended providing seeds for short-cycle crops for areas receiving late rainfall, and prioritizing nutritional rehabilitation interventions for Tete, Sofala, Manica, and Inhambane Provinces.

Generally, food access and availability will continue to be limited after the April and May harvest due to near total crop failure in many areas of the south and the imminent poor harvest in parts of the central region. In addition, the below-average labour availability, as well as the very high food prices, will further constrain food access and purchasing power, especially for the poorest households as they increasingly rely on market purchases. In March, the average price for maize grain in major markets monitored was 143% above the five-year average. Prices of some major substitute staples, maize meal and rice, were up compared to the five-year average in markets monitored, by 62% and 38%, respectively.

The combination of drought impacts and ongoing political and military tensions in central Mozambique have already forced households to abandon their villages in search of more secure areas, adversely impacting normal livelihoods. According to UNHCR, as of April 15, there were nearly 10,000 Mozambicans registered as asylum seekers in Malawi after fleeing violence in Mozambique. The numbers peaked at more than 250 arrivals per day in early March but have since slowed.