Southern Africa grapples with escalating drought


Zambia faces severe drought

from ARNOLD MULENGA in Lusaka, Zambia
Zambia Bureau
LUSAKA, (CAJ News) – SOUTHERN Africa is on the brink of a devastating hunger crisis as an unyielding drought tightens its grip.

El Niño has led to searing heat that led to massive crop failure causing water sources to dry up.

As a result, millions of people in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe have been driven towards starvation.

“The situation is dire and demands urgent and coordinated action to avert a catastrophe,” said Matthew Pickard, CARE Southern Africa Regional Director.

“We are particularly concerned by the impact of this emergency on women and girls who form the backbone of local communities who have had their farms scorched by the intense sun.”

In Malawi, El Nino has affected close to 4,4 million people due to below-normal rain and high temperatures.

This caused maize, a staple food in the mentioned countries, to be severely affected.

Other crops such as rice, groundnuts and soya beans have suffered substantial losses, threatening food security and livelihoods.

Forecasts predict a significant drop in crop yields and increased vulnerability among homes that depend on agriculture for sustenance.

Over 2,7 million Zimbabweans are in need due to prolonged dry spells resulting in complete crop failure in many areas.

Government indications show that 26 percent of people in rural areas will have a cereal shortage, further worsening a dire hunger crisis.

The situation is compounded by economic stress and livestock losses. The country reels from a cholera outbreak that led to over 560 fatalities. Livestock diseases and water scarcity have worsened this situation.

In Zambia, the drought has impacted 9,8 million people.

Delayed rains and wilting crops led to a national disaster declaration in February.

Food prices surged 45 percent, worsening hunger.

Woes afflicting the aforementioned countries are attributed to climate change.

– CAJ News

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