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Mozambique: Drought - Office of the Resident Coordinator, Situation Report No. 4 (As of 10 June 2016)

UNCT Mozambique
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  • At least 1.5 million people are currently in need of assistance based on the March 2016 SETSAN assessment with concerning Global Acute Malnutrition rates in 3 provinces;
  • About 423,000 people received food assistance during April - May 2016 in Maputo, Gaza,
    Inhambane, Sofala, Manica, Zambézia and Tete provinces;
  • Government of China will provide 10,000 tons of rice to assist drought affected people;
  • The current funding gap to assist the drought affected people is approximately of US$ 179.6 million;
  • The Ministry of Agriculture, based on the crop lost area, estimated that 459,000 farmers are currently affected by drought;
  • WFP will be assisting 100,000 students under Emergency School Feeding.

Situation Overview

The rainfall season 2015/2016 in Mozambique officially ended in March 2016 and the main agricultural harvest started especially in the North region and parts of Central Mozambique where crop production was successful. The behavior of the rain season was recorded as rainfall occurrence very below the average during October, November and December 2015 in almost entire South and Central region of the country. For the second period of the rain season – January, February and March 2016, despite the occurrence of significant rainfall in the North region – Cabo Delgado, Nampula provinces, and Central region – Tete and north of Zambézia provinces, in the entire South region including Sofala province, South of Manica and north of Niassa provinces prevailed rainfall deficit conditions.

These rainfall conditions affected severely the rainfed agriculture activity, where in the South region almost all planted crops for the main season were lost due to drought. Fews Net update (May 2016) reports that rains in mid-March and relatively low temperatures have allowed for some second season planting in parts of the southern and central regions of the country.

The National Institute of Meteorology (INAM), indicates that in the coming months (June-August) the El Niño (ENSO) status will weaken significantly, facilitating the strengthening of La Niña signal for the coming rain season indicating occurrence of normal to above normal rainfall especially in the south and central region of the country.

The drought affected population which requires humanitarian assistance in the south and central region of the country was estimated by Technical Secretariat of Food Security and Nutrition (SETSAN) in the assessment conducted in March 2016 to be 1.5 million people. Whereas SETSAN is preparing to conduct another food and nutrition security assessment in June 2016, this is the planning number being used by the government and partners in their response and resource mobilization actions.

Due to the current situation of limited funds (Government and Partners) and response capacity in the country, it is important to prioritize the assistance to the drought affected population. To this end, FEWS NET analysis provides a breakdown in severity with estimates of 755,000 people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), while 740,000 people are in Stressed (IPC Phase 2). The number of food insecure people is expected to increase during the peak of the lean season from October 2016 to March 2017 (FEWS NET update, May 2016).

SETSAN data from March 2016 suggests that over 95,000 children will suffer from acute malnutrition over the next 6 months in the six most drought affected provinces. This is a 30% increase on the November 2015 estimate. Whilst in a normal year acute malnutrition rates would decline after the harvest season, this year’s failed crops and rising inflation suggests that the nutrition situation may continue to deteriorate.

The Government and the humanitarian country team (HCT) with the resources guarantied so far (May 2016) will be able to assist with food at least 423,731 people in May and 321,640 people in June 2016. At the moment, the food assistance is being delivered in three modalities namely, general food distribution especially for vulnerable groups, food for assets and use of vouchers. Two other key sectors in the drought response are WASH and Nutrition where efforts are being carried out to provide safe drinking water to affected population as well as active identification and treatment of acute malnutrition cases in affected children and pregnant and lactating women at community and health unit levels.

In April 2016, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA) conducted an assessment of the agricultural season 2015/2016. Preliminary results of this assessment indicates that about 864,201ha of several crops were lost and approximately 458,564 farmers are affected by drought being Sofala,Tete and Manica (in the central region), Gaza (in the southern region) the most affected provinces. Furthermore, about 692,606 cattle are at risk due to lack of water and fodder mainly in Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane provinces.

Regardless of the drought impact in south and central region of the country, MASA assessment reports that there are good production perspectives in the north region and plateau area in the central region. The assessment also recommends a close monitoring in the agriculture commercialization campaign and coordinate with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to ensure the purchase of cereals and pulses surplus within the country.

According to FEWS NET (May 2016), in the north, the increasing availability of recently harvested maize grain has lowered prices by 36 percent on average from March to April, followed by a 13 percent decrease in the central region.

In the other hand, maize grain prices have increased by 13 percent during the same period in the south region. MASA also reported that there was a reduction of 8 – 20% in cowpea price in the markets in the three regions of the country (Montepuez, Maputo, Maxixe and Cabo Delgado).

Upon the activation of institutional red alert due to drought in the south and central region of the country, the HCT in close collaboration and coordination with the government prepared a strategic response plan (SRP) for the drought emergency. The main focus of the strategy is to assist 1.5 million people in the next 12 months (April 2016 – April 2017) and the priority interventions currently identified are on food security, WASH, nutrition, protection and early recovery. The response plan intends to addresses short and medium term interventions through:

  • Provision of immediate life-saving assistance to the affected population (distribution of essential commodities);
  • Support the restoration of livelihoods of the affected population;
  • Mainstreaming of cross cutting issues (Resilience initiatives, Gender, Protection) in the drought response.

The geographical targeting of the plan is the south and central region of the country in the seven provinces affected by drought.