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Southern Africa Key Message Update: Humanitarian assistance needs in DRC, Mozambique, and Madagascar are high due to conflict and drought, August 2021

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Key Messages:

As typical during the post-harvest period, most households in much of the region consume staples from their own production. This includes many areas of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, and Lesotho where Minimal (IPC Phase 1) and Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes remain most likely through at least September. Poor households in southern parts of Zimbabwe, Malawi, and parts of Lesotho are expected to be market reliant with lower-than-normal purchasing power, with these areas expected to deteriorate to Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in October.

Conflict continues in areas of DRC and Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, which is driving displacement and the disruption of typical livelihood activities. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected in worst-conflict affected areas through at least January 2022. Similar outcomes are currently ongoing in southern Madagascar, where production failed due to consecutive years of drought. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are expected during the October to January period in some areas.

Much of Southern Africa continues to feel the impacts of the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rate of new infections and deaths in July was most severe since the start of the third wave. In response, the governments in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique maintain strict restrictions measures. Some measures include reducing business operating hours, tightening cross-border movement, and halting some business activities like alcohol and beverage sales. While these restrictions are aimed to reduce the further spread of COVID-19; however, it has resulted in some income losses for poor urban households. As a result, some poor urban populations face difficulty meeting their non-food needs with Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.

Poor households in parts of the region where rainfall performed well have started engaging in income-earning activities that will help them to access market foods. Some of the activities that typically occur during this time include winter harvesting, gardening, thatching, and brick molding. On the contrary, in areas affected by poor rainfall, southern Madagascar, southern parts of Mozambique, and Malawi, these opportunities are expected to be below average, limiting household income for staple purchases.