Mozambique Government declares ´red alert’ to severe drought

The Mozambique Government on April 12 declared a 90 day “red alert” period because of the severe drought affecting the southern and central regions of the country leaving about 1.5 million people at severe risk of food insecurity. The announcement was made through the local media following a Council of Ministers weekly session.

The Government Spokesperson, Mouzinho Saíde told the media that “The objective of the red alert declaration is to mobilize the Government and partners, as well as to prioritize the activities that will ensure that no lives are lost”.

During the 90 days, continued Mouzinho Saide, the Government intends to boost assistance actions to populations affected by the drought, a strategy that provides about 580 million meticais (more than 10 million US dollars) to strengthen food assistance under the Contingency Plan.

"We need to mobilize more funds among partners to strengthen the Contingency Plan," said the Government Spokesperson who is also Deputy Health Minister, reiterating that everything is being done to prevent deaths as a result of the drought.

The provinces of central and southern Mozambique are the most affected by this prolonged drought and according to data from the National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC), only 10% of farmers were able to have some harvest in the first period of the growing season.

According to the INGC, to meet the needs of the affected populations, the Mozambican Government needs three thousand tons of cereals and two thousand tons of beans per month, products valued at 13 million dollars per month.

Mozambique is seasonally affected by floods, a phenomenon explained by its geographical location, downstream of most river basins in Southern Africa, but the south of the country is also affected by drought which this year also affected provinces of the central region.

Drought affects several countries in Southern Africa triggered by the El Nino. Malawi and Zimbabwe which both neighbor Mozambique have also declared a state of natural disaster due to lack of food, caused by the severe drought.

Other Mozambique neighboring countries, Zambia and South Africa are also affected by the severe drought that lasts for more than a year and have declared this the worst drought in a 100 years.