The impact of the El Niño drought is being exacerbated by the arrival of the dry season, leaving communities without access to water and struggling to afford adequate food. UNICEF is working closely with the National Disaster Management Authority (NMDA) to implement a targeted and appropriate response.
• UNICEF and partners are reaching 2,500 children in schools and 15,000 people accessing health care facilities with clean water.
• The UNICEF Child Protection and HIV response remains unfunded. Consequently, activities prioritizing protection of children from violence, abuse and exploitation and the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS, both of which are long standing issues in Swaziland, remain to be implemented.
• Funding for the response is a significant limiting factor, alongside the capacity of implementing partners to expand to meet the needs of the most affected. Without sufficient funding, UNICEF and partners supporting the drought response remain without the financial and human capacity to support the Government’s national drought response.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
Date: 31 May 2016 (The numbers below are estimates and represent people to be affected by end of March 2016)
300,320 people affected by drought 189,000 children affected by drought
165,000 children affected by drought in the two most affected regions of Lubombo and Shiselweni
200,897 people food insecure
90,404 children food insecure
8,460 children 6-59 months affected by severe and moderate acute malnutrition
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
The El Niño-induced drought has seriously affected food and nutrition security and water availability across Swaziland. A National Emergency was declared by the Government of Swaziland on 18 February 2016. The next main harvest season is not expected until April 2017, meaning food and nutrition indicators can only be expected to deteriorate over the coming months. Water scarcity is a major consequence of the drought, as boreholes and rivers run dry and rainwater is not available. Whilst the water situation was already critical, the country is now in the dry season, lasting from April to October, meaning the situation is unlikely to improve without intervention.
Updates on the impacts of the drought are expected in July, as a Vulnerability Assessment (VAC) has just been concluded. The assessment was conducted at the household level throughout Swaziland and covered several sectors including water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), food and livelihood security including agriculture, with special attention paid to coping strategies currently being used.