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El Niño Triggers Food Crisis in Southern Africa

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A severe drought triggered by El Niño has left millions of people in Southern Africa facing a devastating food crisis.

Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have been hit hardest, with drought and dry spells affecting crops and livestock.

The region’s agricultural sector has been severely impacted, leading to declarations of national disasters and urgent calls for aid.

The drought has been attributed primarily to El Niño, a natural weather phenomenon that raises surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific Ocean, impacting weather patterns globally. According to a report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, El Niño is expected to drive food insecurity in Southern Africa until early 2025.

Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique have been hit particularly hard, with staple food prices expected to rise across the region. The World Food Programme’s Southern Africa Seasonal Monitor report predicts substantial adverse impacts on harvests and food security.

Political leaders in the region have spoken out about the crisis, with Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera declaring a State of Disaster in 23 districts. Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema reported that 84 districts have been affected, with almost half of the country’s maize crop destroyed. Mozambique is also grappling with a conflict in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, further jeopardizing food supplies.

Experts advocate for agricultural extension services, drought-resistant crops, and investments in irrigation and water-harvesting technologies to mitigate the impacts of future droughts. The Southern African Development Community has launched a regional humanitarian appeal, calling for $5.5 billion in aid to support over 61 million people affected by the extreme weather.

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This crisis highlights the need for sustainable agricultural practices, climate resilience, and regional cooperation to address the impacts of El Niño and ensure food security in Southern Africa.


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