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UN calls for immediate help for 4.8 million Africans affected by El Niño drought

Some 4.8 million people in the African countries of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe have been severely affected by the historic drought caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday, calling on the international community to help prevent them from suffering from food insecurity.

Approximately US$ 409 million (378 million euros) are needed immediately for WFP to support these 4.8 million people in the three most affected countries.“, the United Nations programme warned in a statement.

With this appeal, WFP is seeking to prevent food insecurity in these countries following the severe rainfall deficit and above-average temperatures recorded across the southern African region.

These extreme conditions, caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon, have resulted in the destruction of 50 per cent of the expected harvest in Malawi and Zambia and 80 per cent in Zimbabwe, according to WFP teams on the ground.

Household granaries are empty and corn, the region’s most important crop and most common source of calories, is no longer affordable for many people.“WFP said.

The situation is also expected to worsen, given the shortage of production and the reduction in supply, with other countries in the region being added to the list of those affected as the severity of the crisis becomes known.

In anticipation of this crisis, WFP and its partners have already released US$ 14 million (12.94 million euros) to assist half a million people in four countries: Lesotho, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

However, they warn that although these funds allowed for palliative measures such as improving water sources and disseminating warning messages, the hunger crisis is “long lasting” and its repercussions “increasingly wider”.

Source: Gestion

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