JOHANNESBURG FEBRUARY 19, 2016(CISA) – Nearly one million children across eastern and southern Africa are suffering from “severe acute malnutrition” after two years of drought and the strongest El Nino in 50 years, UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala has said.
“The El Nino weather phenomenon will wane, but the cost to children — many who were already living hand-to-mouth — will be felt for years to come,” AFP quoted Gharagozloo-Pakkala as saying February 17.
“Governments are responding with available resources, but this is an unprecedented situation. Children’s survival is dependent on action taken today,” she added.
The agency is running humanitarian appeals calling for $87 million for Ethiopia, $26 million for Angola and $15 million for Somalia.
Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and most of South Africa have declared drought emergencies, while in Ethiopia, the number of people in need of food assistance is expected to increase from 10 million to 18 million this year.
Last month the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said 14 million people across southern Africa faced going hungry after the prolonged drought wrecked harvests.
The WFP said the cost of maize, also called corn, in Malawi was 73 percent higher than average.
South Africa will import half its average maize crop after 2015 was declared the driest year in more than a century.