Mozambique + 5 more

Southern Africa Key Message Update, August 2019

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Situation Report
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Households deplete food stocks atypically early in several areas of the region

Key Messages

Poor households in several parts of the region have exhausted own produced foods atypically early than normal following the significantly below average harvest. These households are relying on markets for food with below average purchasing power. As a result, the number of households facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is increasing, specifically in the worst affected areas of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Lesotho. The number of households experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) is expected to increase with the start of the lean season in September or October across the region.

After nearly a year, Ebola remains a serious threat to food security in the DRC, since the disease spread to North Kivu in 2018. OCHA reports nearly 2,600 confirmed cases, including more than 1,800 deaths in the last year. Since late-July, following confirmed Ebola deaths in Goma, DRC, the Rwanda government has reinforced screening procedures and public safety measures at entry points. If the border between Rwanda and Goma is closed, it will likely affect trade and market supply, negatively impacting food security outcomes in the area.

Staple food prices increased from May to June in some monitored markets, mostly in areas affected by the 2018/19 drought and tropical cyclones. In Mozambique, prices were generally above the five-year average with significant increases in Gorongosa and Mocuba markets. In Zimbabwe, the increased demand of staple foods and inflation rates resulted in significant increases in maize grain prices. Malawi also reported increases in maize grain prices due to ADMARC buying maize grain and increased demand in southern areas.

Typically, at this time of year most households engage in gardening activities providing some access to food and income. However, due to below average water availability, in some areas the number of households engaging in these activities is below average, reducing food and incomes sources. Between September and December, typical income activities will likely be limited as better-off households who normally provide such opportunities were equally affected by the 2018/19 drought and Tropical Cyclones.