Home » Health Services » Drought in southern Africa: EU releases over Euros 22 million in humanitarian aid

The European Commission is mobilising a humanitarian aid package of Euros 22.8 million to help address emergency food needs and support vulnerable people in Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The funding comes as large parts of southern Africa are currently in the grip of their harshest drought in decades.

Many poor households in droughtaffected areas in southern African countries are struggling to have enough food due to crop failure, reduced access to water and, in some places, unaffordable food prices in markets. EU humanitarian aid will help deliver food to those most in need and tackle the hunger crisis in fragile rural communities, said Janez Lenarcic, Commissioner for Crisis Management.

In Zimbabwe, Euros 16.8 million from this aid package will boost food and nutrition assistance, as well as improving access to basic health care, clean water and providing protection to vulnerable people. The remaining amount will be channelled to providing food assistance and nutrition support in Eswatini, Madagascar, Lesotho and Zambia.

The Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region, as a whole, is prone to natural disasters and oscillates between droughts and floods that are destroying harvests and further weakening fragile communities. Since January 2019, the EU has allocated a total of Euros 67.95 million for humanitarian assistance across the region. The bulk of this funding went for emergency relief assistance in the wake of natural disasters (cyclones Idai and Kenneth), food assistance, and helping atrisk communities equip themselves better to face climaterelated disasters.

Background

As many as 12 million people in the region are at risk of hunger because of extended periods of belowaverage rainfall, interspersed with floods, on top of the economic challenges that some countries in the region are grappling with. In Zimbabwe alone, a 7.7 million people, half of the country's population, are at the risk of facing severe hunger, placing Zimbabwe among the states facing one of the worst food crises in the world.

Source: European Commission's DirectorateGeneral for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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