The green harvest is ongoing across most of Southern Africa and is contributing to a slight improvement in food intake for most households in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Lesotho, and most parts of Mozambique, where production is expected to be average to above-average due to above-average rainfall. The impact of improved production is expected in April when households start consuming staples from the main harvest. Households in areas affected by last year’s drought, including Zimbabwe, southern Mozambique, Malawi, and southern Madagascar, continue experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the 2021 peak of the lean season. Similar outcomes are expected to continue in conflict-affected areas of Cabo Delgado province in Mozambique and Ituri, Tanganyika, and Kassai provinces in DRC.
The rate at which COVID-19 is spreading in most of Southern Africa has improved, resulting in the relaxation of restrictive measures in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Lesotho. Poor urban households in these countries have seen some improvements in income-earning opportunities where most face Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2). However, in Madagascar and DRC, the number of reported cases of COVID-19 has increased. The government of Madagascar has put in place restrictions, including the closure of Nosybe and Mahajanga city borders to the movement of people. Based on previous similar experiences, these restrictions will likely limit income-earning opportunities in affected areas.
Conflict remains a major driver of food insecurity in DRC and northern Mozambique. In DRC, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the ongoing increase of violence in the eastern provinces resulted in more than 11,000 internally displaced people. The timing of these attacks affected the start of season B cropping, with limited planting anticipated among displaced populations. In Mozambique, the intensification of the conflict in Cabo Delgado province has resulted in further population displacements. According to OCHA, recent attacks in Palma resulted in over 19,900 people fleeing to neighboring districts in Cabo Delgado and Nampula provinces. These displaced populations often have difficulty accessing food and income in areas where they are displaced and in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.