UN announces unprecedented levels of hunger in southern Africa

The United Nations World Food Program on Thursday announced that a record 45 million people in the 16-nation Southern African Development Community faced growing hunger.

Zimbabwe is already facing its worst hunger emergency in a decade, with 7.7 million people – half the population – acutely food insecure. But there is evidence the situation has “deteriorated significantly” over the past few months.

About 20% of people in Zambia – a regional breadbasket – and Lesotho face acute food insecurity, as does 10% of the population of Namibia, WFP said.

The crisis has been aggravated by surging food prices, large-scale livestock losses and rising joblessness.
“This hunger crisis is on a scale we’ve not seen before and the evidence shows it’s going to get worse,” the WFP’s Regional Director for Southern Africa, Lola Castro, said in a statement.

The annual cyclone season has begun and “we simply cannot afford a repeat of the devastation caused by last year’s unprecedented storms,” the WFP official said.

The 16 nations in the Southern African Development Community, a region identified as a climate “hotspot” by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, have experienced only one normal growing season in the past five years.

WFP has secured just $205 million of the $489 million required for assistance and has been forced to resort heavily to internal borrowing to ensure food reaches those in need, it said.

Posted by on January 17, 2020. Filed under Columns, News, Zoom. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.