4 April, 2016
In response to the serious drought affecting countries across southern and eastern Africa, where El Niño conditions have caused the lowest ever recorded rainfall between October and December 2015, the global ADRA network is responding. It is estimated that 40 million rural people and 9 million poor urban people who live in drought-affected areas could be exposed, and an estimated 14 million people in the region are already food insecure. Here’s a snapshot of what ADRA is doing in response. MADAGASCAR The southern part of Madagascar has been affected heavily by the El Niño-driven drought. Inconsistent rains have left farmers with poor crops since 2012, and the drought has already caused many districts to lose their regular crop of maize. The upcoming harvests of sweet potato in May and cassava in June will likely yield very poor results as well. ADRA Madagascar coordinated with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to reallocate more than 350 tonnes to distribute emergency food supplies to 13 communes across the affected southern part of the country. This includes enough nutritious corn soy blend, rice and oil for one month, reaching about 52,000 people who were identified as most vulnerable. MALAWI Malawi is experiencing its first maize deficit in a decade, and, as of December 2015, the price of maize stands at 73 percent higher than average. The southern part of the country is the worst hit by a prolonged dry spell which has affected maize, in some cases at its tussling stage. Current estimates suggest a total of 2.8 million people are affected. With assistance from the World Food Program (WFP), ADRA Malawi is assisting 21,932 households in Phalombe and 8,948 households in Mulanje. Both Phalombe and Mulanje are in the southern region of the country. In addition, they are also assisting 1,000 households in Phalombe under the WFP’s Food for Asset program through August 2016. Under the program, each household is getting a food basket of 50kg maize, 10kg pulses, 6kg corn soy blend and two litres of cooking oil. ZAMBIA As of mid-January, the National Disaster Management Council of Ministers in Zambia agreed there is a potential crisis triggered by El Niño and anticipates approximately 1.6 million people may be in need of food assistance. Mambwe in the east has not been spared, and 5,400 farmers still need support as their crop production has been affected with drought in wider areas, but also flash floods in some areas. With support from the Zambian government through the National Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit, ADRA Zambia has distributed 234 tonnes of relief maize to 4,680 households through February 2016. ADRA is continuing needs assessments to ascertain the extent of vulnerability and requirements in Mambwe. ZIMBABWE ADRA Zimbabwe has carried out an initial distribution of emergency food, with a focus on the Doma people who traditionally do not farm and store food as they are nomadic. In partnership with its network partners and local church responded to the plight in Mbire district with food ration packs containing, 50kg of maize meal, 3.75L of cooking oil, 10kg of dried sugar beans and 1kg iodised salt to 140 affected households in the area. The country office is also implementing a food assistance project in Zvishavane district of the Midlands Province in coordination with WFP reaching out to more than 32,000 beneficiaries. Next steps include possible coordination with other faith-based organisations for a wider response. LESOTHO The Government of Lesotho has declared the drought situation a national disaster. According to assessment results, 650,000 in the small country are in need of immediate food assistance. Access to water is another major problem as water points have dried up and collection time has increased to 2-3 hours. Health facilities are going without water and patients are even asked to bring water. In addition, children are reported to be sent home early due to inadequate sanitation standards from lack of available water. The impact of El Niño are going to impact the country until at least the 2016/17 season harvests, as well as recovery beyond 2017. Vulnerable groups including people living with HIV and AIDS, and districts with current high stunting rates are hard hit. The current number of affected people is escalating due to other factors such as increasing food prices, loss of income from agricultural activities and loss of productive assets. ADRA Lesotho recently activated their NEMP to reach households in Berea District. The project targeted household affected by strong winds that destroyed their properties. SWAZILAND The Swaziland government has declared a national disaster and national emergency due to the two-year long drought conditions in the country. The government is making plans to address the growing needs over the next critical months, as well as addressing the situation for the next five years. ADRA Swaziland is in discussions with the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) to distribute government purchased food to approximately 18,000 beneficiaries in 3 constituencies in the Lubombo and Shiselweni regions. SOMALIA The food security and malnutrition situation in Somalia is alarming and requires urgent attention. It is estimated that around 3.7 million people in the country will not have enough food by mid-2016. ADRA Somalia has implemented its initial response, providing emergency water trucking in the Puntland State through May. They are also coordinating with the worldwide ADRA network to roll out its next phase of action plans for the upcoming critical months of drought conditions. ADRA has also funded an intervention for a water assistance project for schools in the province of Sool. Dropout rates rise in emergency situations, so providing schools with adequate water helps kids remain on the their path to education. ETHIOPIA Assessments in Ethiopia have outlined increasing water shortages in hot spots, with severity varying by location. Drinking water availability is becoming a critical issue for farming communities. ADRA Ethiopia has secured funding to begin a water, sanitation, and hygiene response in the Kelafo region. They are also working with the rest of the ADRA network on a wider response within their country.