Climate Crisis – Strong El Niño Likely to Affect 20 Million People Across Southern Africa – Report


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DT Correspondent

HARARE: Zimbabwe, Southern Malawi, Central Mozambique and Southern Madagascar will likely be affected by a strong El Nino which will contribute to food assistance needs for at least 20 million people, a new report by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) has revealed.

It further noted that the ongoing strong El Nino which is expected to reach peak intensity late this year will drive below-average rainfall across Southern Africa.

FEWS NET Southern Africa warned that the expected below-average 2024 harvest will be exhausted earlier than usual leading to high food assistance needs at the start of the lean period next year (January to March 2024), and extending the needs bracket into early 2025.

The organization has urged authorities and developmental partners to prepare for high food assistance needs.

“Deficit-producing areas of Zimbabwe, southern Malawi, southern and central Mozambique, and southern Madagascar are of highest concern.

“Governments, donors, humanitarian partners, and other stakeholders should prepare for high food assistance needs through early 2025,” reads part of the report.

 Zimbabwe has already assumed a proactive approach to the impending climate crisis after it suspended import duty on nitrogenous fertiliser through a government notice issued early last month as part of efforts to reduce costs on inputs and boost grain production.

Early this week the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned that the El Nino will last until April 2024, adding that the weather pattern will push high temperatures.

El Nino is the warming of the ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific, and experts say this provokes extreme effects such as tropical cyclones and droughts.

The intensity of this adverse weather pattern has also been outlined through the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum which forecasts that at least 13 cyclones will hit Southern Africa this season.

In Zimbabwe alone, the Department of Civil Protection anticipates that 250,000 people will be displaced by flooding which will be caused by the El Nino pattern.

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