Nearly 262,000 people (22% of the analysed population) in Eswatini are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 3 or above) between June and September 2021 and require urgent humanitarian assistance. Of these, 240,000 people are experiencing Crisis food acute insecurity (IPC Phase 3) and 22, 000 Emergency acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 4). An additional 342,000 people (29%) are Stressed (IPC Phase 2). The situation has slightly deteriorated when compared to 2019/20 when the food insecure population in IPC Phase 3 or above was 205,000. During the projected period, which corresponds with the lean season, the number of people expected to experience Crisis or worse acute food insecurity is expected to increase by an estimated 5% from the current levels of 262,000 to around 317,000. The likely impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, high commodity prices and poor performance of the agricultural season will greatly influence this increase.
Urban livelihood zones have also shown increased levels of acute food insecurity. The Peri-urban and Lubombo Plateau had the highest proportion (45%) of households classified in Crisis or worse (IPC Phase 3 or above). The Livestock Cattle and Maize (the largest livelihood zone in terms of area covered and population) has over 90,000 people (40%) in IPC Phase 3 or above requiring urgent assistance. The deterioration is attributed to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic households in the urban and peri-urban areas. Most urban areas were classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or worse, averaging above 20% in these conditions, with Lubombo reaching 35% and Shiselweni Urban 25%. Limited livelihood opportunities, high food prices and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are the key drivers of acute food insecurity in the urban areas