Southern Africa's hunger upsurge blamed on climate, COVID-19  News 12 Long IslandView Full coverage on Google News
By MOGOMOTSI MAGOME Associated Press

Southern Africa's hunger upsurge blamed on climate, COVID-19

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - An estimated 45 million people in southern Africa are food insecure, with the number of people without access to adequate affordable and nutritious food up 10% from last year, the World Food Program said Monday. The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with climate change and the struggling economies of several countries, are the main causes of the food insecurity, said international aid organizations in a webinar organized by the Foreign Correspondents Assocition of Southern Africa. Zimbabwe is the worst affected country, with its number of food insecure people expected to reach 8.6 million by the end of this year, World Food Program director in southern Africa, Lola Castro, said. "We are going to see levels of food insecurity that we have never seen for many years," in 13 of the region's 16 countries, Castro said. "We have chronic underlying causes that we know very well, and they are basically mostly related to climatic shocks ... drought, floods or big cyclones," said Castro. She said COVID-19 was an additional emergency that has enormously hurt the livelihoods of many poor people in the region. Lockdowns have made large numbers of people unemployed, increasing food insecurity, she said. Many farmers, especially women, had been severely affected by COVID-19 and its impact on food production, said ActionAid Africa humanitarian advisor, Chikondi Chabvuta. "Southern Africa has faced impacts of climate change for the past four years nonstop. ... I have witnessed the short-lived hope in people's eyes these past four years when seeds are distributed or exchanged in the hope for a better yield next season, only to be disappointed by more climate disasters," she said. "COVID-19 is exposing the existing systematic weaknesses of the regional...

Southern Africa's hunger upsurge blamed on climate, COVID-19 - Beaumont Enterprise