Zimbabwe + 13 more

Southern Africa Humanitarian Snapshot (April 2020)

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The COVID-19 pandemic has arrived in Southern Africa, with most countries in the sub-region reporting cases and instituting heightened control measures within and across common borders. COVID-19 has also triggered an economic slowdown in several countries which were already facing economic challenges, especially in Eswatini, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. COVID-19 is likely to compound already significant humanitarian needs in the region. At least 15.6 million people across 11 countries in Southern Africa are already severely food insecure and the lean season (ordinarily October to March) is expected to last longer than normal, as many farmers have either lost their crops or were unable to plant due to climatic shocks in the past months. The region has high rates of chronic malnutrition, and rising acute malnutrition in several countries (including Angola and Zimbabwe), which could worsen following the suspension of school feeding programmes due to the closure of schools. About 16.5 million people across the region live with HIV; South Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV in the world and Eswatini has the highest HIV prevalence in the world. Communicable and vector-borne diseases are also common, including plant due to climatic shocks in the past months. The region has high rates of chronic malnutrition, and rising acute malnutrition in several countries (including Angola and Zimbabwe), which could worsen following the suspension of school feeding programmes due to the closure of schools. About 16.5 million people across the region live with HIV; South Africa has the highest number of people living with HIV in the world and Eswatini has the highest HIV prevalence in the world. Communicable and vector-borne diseases are also common, including malaria and cholera. People living in highly congested areas are at heightened risk of COVID-19. Southern Africa hosts 956,000 displaced people—774,000 refugees and 182,000 internally displaced people— including about 450,000 refugees who live in camps or camp-like settings, and has high geographical mobility and migration flows. Millions of people across the region live in overcrowded conditions with lack of proper sanitation, clean water and access to healthcare: in Mozambique, more than 80 per cent of the urban population live in informal settlements, and in Madagascar, more than 77 per cent.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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