Africa: Forty-nine million in southern Africa feel effects of drought

| February 22, 2016

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The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says the longest and most severe El Niño weather pattern in 35 years is worsening a drought that could affect as many as 49 million people in southern Africa.

Because of El Niño, southern Africans experienced the lowest recorded rainfall between October and December since 1981. According to WFP experts, the forecast for January to March 2016 is a high probability of below-normal rainfall, which would result in one of the worst droughts on record.

El Niño events typically bring drier conditions to southern Africa and wetter ones to East Africa. In southern Africa, dry, hot conditions are expected to persist until the start of the southern hemisphere autumn in April or May.

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Photo:A Malawian woman carries food aid distributed by the United Nations World Food Progamme (WFP) in Mzumazi village near the capital Lilongwe, February 3, 2016. Credit: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings