Southern Africa has 45 million people facing hunger, UN says

As many as 45 million people in the southern Africa are “gravely food insecure” as a result of repeated drought and floods brought on by climate change, according to the United Nations.

The sixteen member nations of the Southern African Development Community have had one normal growing season in the last five years, with temperatures rising at twice the global average, the UN’s World Food Programme said in an emailed statement Thursday. “The international community must accelerate both emergency assistance to millions of desperately hungry people in southern Africa, and long-term investments to enable the region’s vulnerable to withstand the worsening impacts of climate change,” it said.

Most of the food produced in the region comes from subsistence farmers who depend on increasingly unreliable rains, the WFP said. “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.”

The humanitarian organisation plans to provide assistance to 8.3 million people in eight of the hardest-hit countries: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini and Malawi. To date, it has secured $205 million of the $489 million needed and “has been forced to resort heavily to internal borrowing to ensure food reaches those in need.”

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