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El Niño in Southern Africa: Focus on Lesotho and Zimbabwe, 18 February 2016

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Key findings

Anticipated scope and scale

Approximately 40 million rural people and 9 million poor urban people live in drought-affected areas. 14 million are food insecure, with the number expected to grow at least until April harvests. As of January, 2.5 million people in the worst affected countries are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) food security.

Priorities for humanitarian intervention

Food security and livelihoods assistance is urgently required, as government food stocks are exhausted and current assistance is insufficient. Food support will likely need to be sustained even after April harvests, which are expected to be below average.
WASH needs are driven by acute water shortages in both urban and rural areas.
Health support is critical to step up treatment and prevent further transmission of disease.

Humanitarian constraints

Access is relatively good in most of the affected countries. Food assistance programmes have so far been constrained due to lack of funding. If flood risks eventuate, access could be constrained in low lying areas.