Southern Africa appeals for billions to cope with El Niño devastation

15 southern African countries have asked for $2.8bn to help feed nearly 40 million people hit by one of the worst regional droughts in 35 years

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John Vidal Tuesday 26 July 2016 17.50 BST

Southern African countries have launched an emergency appeal for $2.8bn (£2.1bn) to help feed nearly 40 million people hit by one of the worst regional droughts in 35 years.

According to the South African Development Community, which comprises 15 countries, 23 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance and a further 13 million are food insecure following the strongest El Niño event recorded.

Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have already declared national drought emergencies, South Africa has a drought emergency in eight of its nine provinces, and Mozambique declared a 90-day “red alert” for some areas.

El Niño is over – but it leaves nearly 100 million people short of food

Food shortages are expected to peak between October, when supplies will run lowest, and March, when the next harvest is due, so the number of people in extreme need is expected to rise significantly if insufficient assistance is given.

The US has pledged $127m (£97m), lifting its contribution to the region to about $300m. Britain has delivered $250m to Africa since July 2015 as part of its El Niño response, and the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy last week announced pledges totalling $22m.

…(read more).

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