WHP says 16M people face starvation in Southern Africa

United Nations World Food Programme says almost 16 million people in Southern Africa face starvation due to drought that hit entire region

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Malawian subsistence farmer surveys her maize fields in Dowa near the capital Lilongwe, February 3, 2016.

Nearly 16 million people face starvation in Southern Africa due to the drought El Nino brought to the region, as the numbers could rise to an estimated 50 million, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday.

"El Nino is progressing toward a potential regional emergency requiring a coordinated response," WFP said in a report.

In January WFP announced 14 million people in the region faced hunger.

The numbers does not include South Africa, where President Zuma announced last month that the drought would affect 2.7 million South Africans.

South Africa reached it driest year in 2015, treating the key maize (corn) production and making spot prices for the grain 100 percent higher than last year.

According to WHP, the entire Southern African region has reached its lowest rainfall in the last 35 years between October 2015 and January 2016.

However, the drought effects livestock, which is a key source of economy for many rural areas in the region.

"Limited water availability and poor pasture are worsening livestock conditions. The number of livestock deaths is already increasing in parts of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe," WFP said.

TRTWorld and agencies