In response to the state of emergency due to the El Niño drought, the Government launched a comprehensive joint multi-sectoral drought response, the National Emergency Response, Mitigation and Adaptation Plan (NERMAP) 2016-2022. The National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), supported by the United Nations (UN), undertook a mid-term review of the NERMAP 2016-2022 which included a comprehensive multi-sectoral assessment, and Lessons Learnt exercise. The review assessed the effectiveness and results of the NERMAP for the first year and provided recommendations and suggested changes to the plan for it to remain relevant. The results are expected to be disseminated by September 2017.
Rainfall patterns from January to June 2017 have matched meteorological predictions with normal to above-normal rains across most of the country, alleviating the need for large-scale water trucking to many parts of the country. However, Shiselweni and Lumbombo regions received lower-rainfall and experienced continued impacts of the drought.
From January to June 2017, UNICEF Swaziland reached 36,969 people with clean water through water trucking, borehole drilling and the distribution of water treatment kits.
With UNICEF support, 17,654 children under-5 years were screened for malnutrition by Rural Health Motivators - 0.6 per cent (110 children) were under weight and 0.3 per cent (55 children) were over-weight. A total of 189 children were admitted in severe acute malnutrition (SAM) clinics and 171 (90.5 per cent) were successfully treated.
All 69 schools damaged during Tropical Cyclone Dineo in February 2017 have been rehabilitated and are fully operational.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Currently 350,000 people are affected by the prolonged drought, including 189,000 children, 165,000 of which are located in Shiselweni and Lubombo regions. In addition, 308,059 people remain food insecure, while 8,460 children are affected by severe acute malnutrition (SAM - 1,410) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM – 7,050). The ongoing drought is further exacerbating levels of vulnerability among the population which are compounded by chronic food insecurity, malnutrition, high rates of HIV/AIDS (26 per cent prevalence), poverty and protection concerns, including gender based violence. Close to six per cent of children under-5 years are underweight, while two per cent are wasted.
More than a quarter of the children are stunted while nine per cent of children are overweight, signalling a double burden of both under and over nutrition.
The 2017 national multi-sector needs assessment showed that coverage of Supplementary Feeding Programmes (SFPs) among children meeting entry criteria was at 51 per cent and that there was a gap in Therapeutic Feeding programmes (TFPs) where only 22 per cent of the children identified as severely malnourished had been enrolled into the TFPs. This indicates a need for scaled up integrated management of acute malnutrition (IMAM) services to reach children in need.
The assessment also showed that 66 per cent of households were using safe water sources for drinking water, however, both Shiselweni and Lubombo regions showed the highest populations accessing water from unsafe sources at 23 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. The assessment further showed that diarrhoea, skin diseases and acute respiratory infections were prevalent among children aged 6 to 59 months of age and reportedly affected 9.4 per cent, 12.5 per cent and 17.7 per cent respectively of children in the two weeks prior to the survey. Health facility data showed that cases of watery diarrhoea were prevalent amongst all ages across the four regions.