Entity

Time filter

Source Type

WFP
Rome, Italy

Midway through the farming season, the fields around the village are normally green at this time of the year but now they lie barren. Local people, who should be looking forward to the harvest in late March, are instead awaiting its failure and wondering how to make do with meager supplies of food aid. "It will not take us far so we will have to eat sparingly," said Jesta Kugarira, 65. Apart from a few showers in mid-January, it hasn't rained in Mafomoti since September and her maize, millet and sorghum crops have been destroyed. Kugarira, who has 12 children and grandchildren aged between three and 24, said her family is surviving on one meal a day. She has just six kg (13 pounds) of cereal, two kg of beans and some vegetable oil that she has received from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to keep them fed for a month. The drought is likely to damage harvests across southern Africa and about 14 million people are at risk, the WFP says. But whereas neighboring South Africa is wealthy enough to tackle the problem of food shortages, the impact is looking particularly serious for Zimbabwe where 70 percent of the population still survives on farming. Zimbabwe's economy has been struggling for five years to recover from a catastrophic recession that was marked by billion percent hyperinflation and widespread food shortages. Strained relations between President Robert Mugabe and aid donors such as the European Union have complicated matters. Agriculture is critical to Zimbabwe's economy, generating 30 percent of export earnings and contributing 19 percent to GDP. But a report by the government and international aid agencies last year said 16 percent of Zimbabwe's population - which numbers 13 million - required food up to March 2016. In drought stricken areas, emaciated cows root around the bare earth trying to find something to eat. Some livestock are too weak to stand while birds flock around the carcass of a dead donkey. Around Mafomoti, 500 km (300 miles) south of the capital Harare, 375 families have received aid which is expected to feed a total of 2,784 people. Villagers said they were being forced to sell their surviving cattle, prized possessions in rural Zimbabwe which families usually keep to fund future family expenses such as educating the next generation. "Livestock was our bank because people expected to sell and raise money for school fees, but they are all dying and there are no pastures. If you look around you, it's just barren," said Luxon Mabvongwe, a 50-year-old father of 11. Whereas food prices usually rise in times of drought, the opposite is true of livestock in Zimbabwe at the moment. With animal feed so scare, farmers are selling cows for as little as $50 compared with at least $400 they would get in better times. Harare plans to import up to 700,000 tonnes of maize and has secured a $200 million loan to import grain. The EU has urged Mugabe's government to declare a food emergency, allowing international donors to raise money quickly to provide more food aid. Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said only that Harare is already providing food imports but is open to assistance. Relations between Brussels and Harare remain fraught. The EU, which imposed sanctions in 2002 over electoral fraud and human rights abuses, has renewed measures including a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe and his wife until next month. Some villagers in Mafomoti are considering trekking the 100 km to the South African border to look for food. However, the continent's top maize producer is suffering from the same drought and could reap its smallest maize crop in a decade this year, a Reuters poll showed. Josphat Ngwenya, the local chief, said the long-term consequences of the drought went well beyond food shortages. "Most households will collapse and many children will fail to go to school," said Ngwenya.


News Article
Site: http://www.sej.org/headlines/list

"Almost 16 million people face hunger in Southern Africa because of a drought exacerbated by an El Nino weather pattern and that number could climb to almost 50 million, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday. "El Nino is progressing toward a potential regional emergency requiring a coordinated response," WFP said in a report on the unfolding situation. In January WFP said 14 million people in the region faced hunger. The figures exclude South Africa, where President Jacob Zuma said last month that 2.7 million households would be affected by the drought."


Dead fish are seen as Lake St Lucia is almost completely dry due to drought conditions in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, northeast of Durban, South Africa February 25, 2016. Lake St Lucia is almost completely dry due to drought conditions in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, northeast of Durban, South Africa February 25, 2016. "El Nino is progressing toward a potential regional emergency requiring a coordinated response," WFP said in a report on the unfolding situation. In January WFP said 14 million people in the region faced hunger. The figures exclude South Africa, where President Jacob Zuma said last month that 2.7 million households would be affected by the drought. Regional breadbasket South Africa had its driest year on record in 2015, threatening the key maize crop and pushing spot prices for the grain 100 percent higher over the past year. For the region as whole, WFP said many areas had recorded their lowest rainfall in 35 years between October 2015 and January 2016, the main planting window for grains such as the staple maize crop in the southern hemisphere winter. The drought conditions are also hurting livestock, a key source of wealth for many rural households in the region. "Limited water availability and poor pasture are worsening livestock conditions. The number of livestock deaths is already increasing in parts of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe," WFP said.


News Article
Site: http://www.sej.org/headlines/list

"About 14 million people face hunger in Southern Africa because of a drought that has been exacerbated by an El Nino weather pattern, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Monday. The worst-affected country is Malawi, where 2.8 million people, 16 percent of the population, are expected to go hungry, followed by the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar where almost 1.9 million are at risk, WFP said in a statement. In Zimbabwe, 1.5 million people, more than 10 percent of the population, face hunger, WFP said."


News Article
Site: http://www.reuters.com

The team predicted that, without help, there was a high chance of a "widespread catastrophe" in the first three months of next year. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) team said after a trip to South Sudan's Unity State that said 40,000 people there were projected to be in a food security "catastrophe" and at risk of famine. That is an increase of 10,000 since an IPC report on Oct. 22, which also said 830,000 people were in an "emergency" situation and a further 3.1 million in "crisis". The IPC members include non-governmental organizations and U.N. agencies including the Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Programme. South Sudan was plunged into a civil war in December 2013 when a political crisis triggered fighting between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and rebels allied with his former deputy Riek Machar. The conflict has reopened ethnic faultlines that pit Kiir's Dinka people against Machar's ethnic Nuer people. Fighting intensified in May in Unity State, killing tens of thousands of head of cattle, destroying markets and crops, and displacing over 100,000 civilians, most of whom are still thought to be sheltering in the bush and in island villages, the report said. More than 645,000 people have fled the country since December 2013 and about 200,000 have taken refuge in U.N. bases across the country. The IPC team spent four days in Unity State from Nov. 10 but were unable to verify any existing famine conditions due to the security situation restricting access to people and villages. All households were dependent on water lilies and fish from local rivers and swamps, but the water will recede from January to March, putting those households at real risk of having no food at all by early next year, the report said. Before the conflict, local people said they had consumed three or four meals a day, including milk, meat, fish blood, sorghum, maize, sesame and groundnuts. More violence could come with the dry season in January, and any aid delivery is very likely to draw a looting attack, the report said. An area that received WFP food aid in October, was attacked the following day and the food looted, the report said. The U.S.-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network said around half the population would be acutely food insecure by May 2016, with Upper Nile State in particular need of food aid.

Discover hidden collaborations