European Union External Action

Drought in southern Africa: EU releases over €22 million in humanitarian aid

16/01/2020 - 08:00
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A quarter of the rural population in Lesotho is estimated to be suffering from acute food shortages, with figures expected to increase at the peak of the dry season.

Drought in southern Africa EU releases over €22 million in humanitarian aid

 

The European Commission is mobilising a humanitarian aid package of €22.8 million to help address emergency food needs and support vulnerable people in Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The funding comes as large parts of southern Africa are currently in the grip of their harshest drought in decades.

Many poor households in drought-affected areas in southern African countries are struggling to have enough food due to crop failure, reduced access to water and, in some places, unaffordable food prices in markets.  EU humanitarian aid will help deliver food to those most in need and tackle the hunger crisis in fragile rural communities,” said Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management.

 

In Zimbabwe, €16.8 million from this aid package will, in addition to provide food and nutrition, improve access to basic health care and clean water, and provide protection to counter the risks that their fragility exposes them to. The remaining amount will be channelled to providing food assistance and nutrition support in Eswatini, Madagascar, Lesotho and Zambia.

 

The Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region, as a whole, is prone to natural disasters and oscillates between droughts and floods that are destroying harvests and further weakening fragile communities. Since January 2019, the EU has allocated a total of €67.95 million for humanitarian assistance across the region. The bulk of this funding went to emergency relief assistance in the wake of natural disasters (cyclones Idai and Kenneth), food assistance, and helping at-risk communities equip themselves better to face climate-related disasters.

 

Background

Extensive areas in southern Africa received in 2019 their lowest seasonal rainfall to date since 1981, when records first began to be held. As many as 12 million people in the region are at risk of hunger because of extended periods of below-average rainfall, interspersed with floods, on top of the economic challenges that some countries in the region are grappling with. In Zimbabwe alone, 7.7 million people, half of the country’s population, are at the risk of facing severe hunger, placing Zimbabwe among the states facing one of the worst food crises in the world.

 

A quarter of the rural population in Lesotho is estimated to be suffering from acute food shortages, with figures expected to increase at the peak of the dry season. €1.5 million in EU humanitarian support will be providing in-kind and cash food assistance to vulnerable communities in Mohale's Hoek, Mafeteng, Quthing and Qacha's Nek Districts which have been worst-hit by the drought. 

 

For more information

Factsheet: Southern Africa and Indian Ocean

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