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Southern Africa: 12 million people are food insecure

13 Nov 2019


A family outside their tent in Taratara Camp, in Cabo Delgado Province, Mozambique, 10 July 2019. The family was relocated to the camp following Cyclone Kenneth in April. Credit: UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The lean season has begun in Southern Africa and nearly 12 million people are severely food insecure.

Many people are unable to access clean water, and girls and women are reportedly being forced to resort to negative coping strategies, including early marriage, transactional sex and trafficking.

Three districts in Zambia and nine in Zimbabwe, along with more than 60 per cent of communes assessed in three provinces of southern Angola, are projected to face emergency levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 4).

Levels of acute malnutrition have risen in multiple countries, particularly Zimbabwe, and more than 1,000 cases of a micronutrient deficiency [Pellagra] have been reported in Cyclone Idai-affected areas of Mozambique.

Livestock deaths, particularly in Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe, have also been reported.

The Southern Africa region is experiencing the effects of the climate crisis, with warming at about twice the global rate. Below-average rains are being recorded in many areas and cyclones are expected in others, foreboding a potential second consecutive poor harvest.