UN food agency World Food Program (WFP) noted the number of people starving in South Africa has exceeded the record. There are around 45 million people starving throughout the region.
The Southern African Development Community, which has 16 member countries in southern Africa, is facing an increase in the number of people starving. Most of these are caused by drought, flash floods and economic chaos.
South Africa is experiencing a severe drought caused by climate change. Global warming is hitting poor countries that are already struggling to overcome the effects of natural disasters such as Hurricane Idai which devastated Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in 2019.
“This hunger crisis is on a scale we have never seen before and the evidence shows that it is getting worse,” WFP Regional Director of South Africa Lola Castro said in a statement on Thursday (1/16).
Zimbabwe, which was once a breadbasket in southern Africa, experienced the worst economic crisis in the past decade. The economic collapse was marked by soaring inflation, scarcity of food, fuel, medicines and electricity.
“Seasonal storms have begun and we don’t know whether we can overcome the devastation caused by an unusual storm last year,” he said.
WFP plans to provide assistance in the ‘famine season’ for 8.3 million people who experience a ‘crisis’ or ’emergency’ famine in eight countries. These include Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini and Malawi.
To date WFP has managed to secure 205 million US dollars from the 489 US dollars needed to provide this assistance. Castro said they were forced to use many internal loans to ensure the food reached those in need.
In December the UN said they were getting food aid for 4.1 million Zimbabweans, a quarter of the country’s population. Food scarcity is exacerbated by inflation and drought caused by global warming.
“Zimbabwe is in the worst emergency famine in a decade, with half the population of around 7.7 million experiencing food insecurity,” WFP said.
About 20 percent of Zambia and Lesotho populations hit by drought face a food crisis. This also happens to 10 percent of the population of Nambia.
Castro said if WFP did not receive the funds needed. Then there is no other choice but to reduce the assistance that is needed by those who are lacking.