Due to late or no rain, nearly 11 million people in Southern Africa are facing hunger as crop production falls and food shortages increase, humanitarian organisations says.
Crop production in the region is down by 30% this season.
“This year’s drought is unprecedented, causing food shortages on a scale we have never seen here before,” said Michael Charles, head of the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) and Red Crescent Societies regional unit. “We are seeing people going two to three days without food, entire herds of livestock wiped out by drought and small-scale farmers with no means to earn money to tide them over a lean season.”
The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change has identified southern Africa as a so-called hotspot — a region that faces increased risks of heat extremes and less rainfall as the planet’s temperature rises.
Zambia and Zimbabwe are most affected, with 2.3 million and 3.6 million people respectively suffering from acute lack of food, the IFRC said. Large parts of these countries are experiencing the worst drought in at least four decades.
Water on the upper reaches of the Zambezi river is near its lowest level in a half-century, resulting in crop failures, a collapse in fish stocks, and a sharp drop in power from dams that provide Zambia with 80% of its electricity.
The IFRC says, Botswana, Lesotho and Namibia declared drought emergencies this year.