Tackling Southern Africa’s Climate-Driven Food Crisis, 9 October 2019

In Numbers

A record 45 million Southern Africans will be severely food insecure at peak lean season

WFP to support 7.2 million people in 8 countries

US$ 260 million being sought to meet urgent food needs (US$ 139 million of the required US$ 399 million secured to date)


WFP is stepping up both emergency assistance to those most in need and interventions to help vulnerable communities withstand increasingly frequent and intense climate shocks.

The priority countries are: Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, Eswatini and Lesotho.

Multi-year funding is crucial to enabling vulnerable communities to withstand climate shocks.

Situation Update

A record 45 million people in the 16-nation South African Development Community (SADC) face severe food insecurity in the next six months. Persistent drought, back-to-back cyclones and flooding have wreaked havoc on harvests in a region overly dependent on rain-fed, smallholder agriculture.

With temperatures rising at twice the global average and designated a climate hotspot by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Southern Africa has experienced normal rainfall in just one of the last five growing seasons.

In late 2018 and early 2019 many western and central areas experienced the driest growing season in a generation, precipitating widespread crop failure in Zimbabwe, northern Namibia and southern parts of Angola, Botswana and Zambia.

Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, in March and April this year, were the strongest on record to strike Africa, and obliged Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Comoros to declare national emergencies.

The hunger crisis, afflicting urban as well as rural communities, is being aggravated by rising food prices, large-scale livestock losses and mounting joblessness. It is also deepening acute malnutrition in particularly vulnerable communities.

There are 9.2 million people now experiencing crisis or emergency levels of food insecurity (IPC Phases 3 and 4) in eight Southern African countries identified by WFP for urgent lean season assistance. The number is projected to rise to 13 million early next year unless timely assistance is provided.

Source: World Food Programme