Fourteen million people could run out of food in southern Africa in 2016 after the severe drought affecting crops in the region for several months, according to a UN statement released on Monday.
“The number of people that will not have enough food could increase in the coming months as the region will enter the dry season and food stocks are extraordinarily low,” says Food Programme World (WFP), a UN agency, in this text. “Small farmers who rely on their production for their livelihoods are particularly vulnerable,” said WFP.
Alarming climate predictions
The poor harvest last year, followed by a severe drought caused by the climatic phenomenon El Niño makes forecasts “alarming” the UN agency says. Malawi is one of the countries most affected by the lack of rain with 2.8 million people threatened by hunger, to Madagascar (1.9 million) and Zimbabwe (1.5 million) where the year of harvest last reached only half that of the previous year.
According to WFP, food prices have also increased in the region, that of maize for example having jumped 73% from its average price.
The recurring El Niño
Last week, South Africa, which provides much of the grain in the region, announced that it would have to import six million tonnes of maize, half of his crop usual annual to face the worst drought in the country for 112 years.
The phenomenon El Niño warm current equatorial Pacific, reappears every five to seven years and knows this year strong intensity, causing both droughts in some areas and severe flooding in others. It is expected to persist until around April, the fall in the Southern Hemisphere.
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