Southern and East Africa: Food crisis amid failed harvests, conflict (UN News, Mail & Guardian Africa, Norwegian Refugee Council, UNHCR)

| July 18, 2016

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The extended drought has affected harvests in southern and East Africa, resulting in a food crisis, while food shortages in South Sudan are being exacerbated by conflict within the country.

The 15-country Southern African Development Community is declaring a regional disaster, and seeking $2.7 billion to cope with the recent drought. Food prices in the region have risen and the governments of Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe have declared national emergencies, while eight of South Africa’s nine provinces have done the same.

In South Sudan, close to five million people are facing severe food shortages in the coming months, the highest level since war broke out two years ago. Displaced communities, people returning to areas they fled during conflict, and low-income families are expected to be most at risk.

Mary Achol lives in a camp for displaced people in Mingkaman, Lakes State, South Sudan. She says: “I feel frustrated. The rains have let us down, and now our crops are drying up. The goat keepers are also letting their goats into our farms, destroying our crops. I cannot tell them to go; it is their land.”

Other parts of South Sudan have experienced heavy rains. The rains have cut off roads, making it impossible to access food markets. The price of basic commodities like rice, sorghum, and beans has risen. Women have resorted to picking seeds off water lilies in swamps, which they grind into flour.

To read the full article on the food crisis in southern Africa, go to:

To read the full article on the South Sudan food crisis, go to:

For more information on refugees and internally displaced people affected by the conflict in South Sudan, go to:

Photo credit: NRC/Tuva Raanes Bogsnes