The lean season has begun in Southern Africa, with nearly 12 million people severely food insecure, many unable to access clean water, and girls and women reportedly forced to resort to negative coping strategies, including early marriage, transactional sex and trafficking. At least 12 districts are projected to face ‘Emergency’ food insecurity (IPC Phase 4) (3 in Zambia and 9 in Zimbabwe), along with more than 60 per cent (14 out of 23) of communes assessed in three provinces (Cuando Cubango, Huila and Cunene) of southern Angola. Measles outbreaks persist in Comoros and Madagascar, and Lesotho reported its first cases in October. Vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 is present in Angola and Zambia, while Namibia has reported an increase in hepatitis E. Levels of acute malnutrition have risen in multiple countries, particularly Zimbabwe, and more than 1,000 cases of Pellagra—a micronutrient deficiency—have been reported in Cyclone Idai-affected areas of Mozambique. There are also reports of livestock deaths, particularly in Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe. All of these developments heighten the risk of transmission of HIV.
This region is experiencing the brunt of the climate crisis: it is warming at about twice the global rate and many countries have been buffeted by multiple shocks. Below-average rains are being recorded in many areas and cyclones are expected in others, foreboding a potential second consecutive poor harvest. Several countries are also facing economic challenges, including Zimbabwe, where inflation has reached 300 per cent and the cost of basic commodities has risen sharply. In Mozambique, violence in Cabo Delgado, Manica and Sofala provinces has increased protection concerns and may exacerbate humanitarian needs in communities struggling to recover from Cyclones Idai and Kenneth.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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