According to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) 2019 Synthesis Report, more than 41.2 million people in 13 SADC countries in Southern Africa will be facing food insecurity in the 2019/20 year. Food insecurity has increased by 28 percent in 11 countries in the region - 7.4 percent higher than it was during the severe El Niño-induced drought of 2016/17, which devastated millions in many parts of Africa. The current food insecurity crisis is further exacerbated by increasing food prices, livestock and crop losses and loss of their income. Communities are increasingly at risk of acute malnutrition and disease. The countries with the most significant increase in levels of food insecurity are Zambia (144%), Zimbabwe (128%), Eswatini (90%),
Mozambique (85%) and DRC (80%). Four countries (Botswana, Lesotho; Namibia and Zimbabwe) have already declared the drought an emergency.
The most vulnerable households are expected to exhaust their 2019 crop harvest in less than three months, resulting in significant food consumption gaps, especially during the coming lean season. The worsening food security, nutrition, and vulnerability situation is attributed to frequent and intense climate-related disasters, poor diets, economic hardships, pests and diseases, and conflict, among others.
Furthermore, Regional Interagency Standing Committee Africa (RIASCO) highlights that more than 11 million people now experiencing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity (IPC Phases 3 and 4) in nine Southern African countries1 due to deepening drought and climate crisis. If urgent humanitarian action is not taken, the number will likely rise in the coming months as highlighted in the SADC synthesis report.
The Joint Call for Action by the FAO, UNICEF and WFP to “Address the Impacts of Climate Change and a Deepening Humanitarian Crisis in Southern Africa” highlights the need for more resources until mid-2020:
FAO seeking is USD 107.75 million to assist 12.4 million people-FAO Southern Africa Emergency Response Plan, UNICEF requires a total of US$ 150.70 million to reach 5.5 million people and WFP is seeking US$ 244.71 million to assist more than 7.2 million people.