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Mozambique: Drought - Office of the Resident Coordinator, Situation Report No. 3 (As of 14 April 2016)

UNCT Mozambique
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· At least 1.5 million people are currently in need of assistance based on the updated SETSAN assessment with alarming Global Acute Malnutrition rates in 3 provinces;

· The Government of Mozambique activated on 12 April 2016 the institutional Red alert due to drought;

· About 315,000 people received food assistance during March 2016 in Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala, Manica and Tete provinces;

· The UN system mobilized about US$ 4.7 million through CERF;

· The Ministry of Agriculture, based on the crop lost area, estimated that 323,000 farmers are currently affected by drought;

· Prices of staple food in the main markets have increased by 100%;

Situation Overview

The rainfall season 2015/2016 in Mozambique is in its final stage and in the coming weeks it is expected weak to moderate rains mostly in the Northern and Central region of the country whereas in the Southern region very little or no rains at all is expected. However, a low pressure system in the Mozambique Channel can always result in rainfall occurrence in the country.

During March 2016, the country recorded significant rainfall especially in the Northern and Central region including some few areas of Gaza and Inhambane provinces in the Southern region. Despite this significant rainfall recorded mostly in mid-March, drought conditions remain across in much of the southern region and some areas of Central In general, regarding to the hydrological situation, the main river basins records oscillatory water levels with downward trend in almost entire country. The Corumana (1%) and Massingir (1%) dams (both are for irrigation purposes) recorded slight increase in the water storage volume although this is a drop in the ocean looking the irrigation requirements in Maputo and Gaza province. The Massingir dam was releasing water through an emergency discharge through the bottom outlet in rehabilitation and for safety reasons, the bottom outlet of Massingir dam was closed on 24th March 2016 meaning that no water is being released from this dam. Therefore, the water supply to the Chókwè Irrigation scheme (the largest irrigation system in the country) is limited and might affect the second period of the agricultural season when essentially the vegetables are produced.

The preliminary data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA) indicates that about 550,116 ha of several crops were lost and approximately 320,498 farmers are affected being Sofala and Tete (in the central region), Inhambane, Gaza and Maputo (in the southern region) the most affected provinces. Although this loss represents 11% of the total cultivated area in the country, is still a concern to ensure food access to the affected people till the next harvest in March 2017.

The National Institute for Disaster Management (INGC) delegation of Manica province, reported recently that in Bárue district, locality of Inhazónia there are at least 404 people (77 families) temporary resettled due to drought. These people are coming from Maringuè district, a neighbor district of Sofala province looking for fertile land with residual soil moisture to develop their agricultural activities. The center was opened early in March 2016 and the local government installed 41 tents to shelter the affected people and is providing food assistance as well as agricultural inputs. COSACA is supporting INGC with the provision and distribution of household and hygiene kits for these families.

From 28 February to 18 March 2016, the SETSAN team was in the field to update the food and nutrition security situation with the support of FAO, WFP, UNICEF, UNDP, FEWS NET and other partners in the ground. The assessment covered 46 districts in six provinces (Tete, Manica, Sofala, Inhambane, Gaza and Maputo), 2,506 households were interviewed, 1,933 children and 615 pregnant and lactating mothers screened for malnutrition.

On 1st April 2016, SETSAN released the results of the food and nutrition security assessment which indicated that at the moment, almost all the households do not have cereals reserves for consumption; there are very little households (less than 10%) that expects to harvest some cereals due to the current drought; most of the households did at least 2 – 3 sowing indicating need of assistance in seeds for the coming season; there was a sharp reduction on the diet quality from November 2015 – March 2016; the nutritional status of the children is worrisome in Sofala, Tete and Manica provinces with very high Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rates (over 15% in two provinces). The estimated number of people in food insecurity situation and in need of humanitarian assistance is 1,493,928. Note that this number includes Zambézia province (estimated 254,379 people based on information from agriculture authorities, region. The rainfall improved some pastoral conditions and water availability, but it is considered too late to recover the affected crops planted in late January 2016. source of income statistics) where the assessment is still ongoing (see table below).

As can be seen in the table, the most affected provinces in terms of people that need assistance are Tete and Sofala provinces followed by Gaza, Inhambane and Maputo. These results are within the SETSAN scenarios defined in January 2016 indicating that the number of people that might be in need of assistance would vary from 380,000 people in case of moderate scenario to 1.8 million people considering a worst-case scenario.

As of end of March 2016, 315,366 people affected by drought in Maputo, Gaza, Sofala, Manica and Tete provinces received food assistance provided by the Government and HCT members. Looking at the response efforts being implemented so far and the new update on the people in need of assistance it is clearly seen that the country need to rethink, adjust the current plans and define the most effective strategy for resource mobilization to respond to the crisis.

Staple food prices are still rising, which is limiting food access for poor households as they increasingly rely on market purchases. Reference markets such as Beira, Chimoio, Gorongosa, Tete, Mocuba in the central region, Nampula and Pemba in the North region, Chókwè and Maxixe in the South region indicates that the price of white maize grain increased almost 100% when compared to similar period in previous year (2015) and the average price of last five years. Similar trend is also recorded for cowpeas with some markets showing rises of more than 100%.

The seriousness of the situation triggered the INGC to call the partners for a meeting where the results of SETSAN assessment were presented and request for additional mobilization was done by INGC general director to address the new needs during the next 12 months. Furthermore, on 12 April 2016, the Government activated the institutional red alert in the most drought affected provinces such as, Tete, Sofala, Gaza, Inhambane and Maputo aiming to intensify and expand the response actions, disburse additional funds planned for emergency situations and mobilize additional resources through the cooperating partners.