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About 45mn people facing hunger in SADC countries during severe climate change

About 45mn people facing hunger in SADC countries during severe climate change
In many places, this season’s rains have again arrived late, and experts forecast continuing hot and dry weather in the coming months, presaging yet another poor harvest. Image Credit: ANI

Consisting of mainly women and children, a record of around 45 million people in the 16 nations of the Southern African Development Community are severely suffering from food insecure following repeated drought, widespread flooding and economic disarray.

The United Nations World Food Programme has warned the world should step up to save lives, even as the crisis deepens, and enable communities to adapt to climate change. "This hunger crisis is on a scale we've not seen before and the evidence shows it's going to get worse. The annual cyclone season has begun, and we simply cannot afford a repeat of the devastation caused by last year's unprecedented storms," the World Food Programme's Regional Director for Southern Africa, Lola Castro said.

"While our most pressing priority are the millions in need of immediate support, building the resilience of the many more threatened by increasingly frequent and destructive droughts and storms is absolutely essential," Castro cited.

The international community should enhance both emergency assistance to millions of severely hungry people in southern Africa mainly when 'lean' season deepens in April or May. The international community should enable long-term investments to enable the region's vulnerable to withstand the worsening impacts of climate change.

With temperatures rising at twice the global average and most of its food produced by subsistence farmers entirely dependent on increasingly unreliable rains, southern Africa has had just one normal growing season in the last five years. In many places, this season's rains have again arrived late, and experts forecast continuing hot and dry weather in the coming months, presaging yet another poor harvest.

World Food Programme (WFP) intends to provide lean season assistance to 8.3 million people grappling with 'crisis' or 'emergency' levels of hunger in the hardest-hit nations like Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Eswatini. WFP has secured till date just USD 205 million of the USD 489 million required for this assistance and has been forced to resort heavily to internal borrowing to ensure food reaches those in need.

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