Food Crisis Hits Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is in the midst of a catastrophic drought; the worst by some accounts in 100 years. Even South Africa, normally a reliable producer that exports millions of tons of grain, will for the first time in many years need to import grain.

The nation of Malawi is being hit especially hard, having been crippled by a "double disaster" prior to the current crisis. In the previous growing season, the country had suffered a drought combined with episodes of destructive flooding that killed many people, displaced hundreds of thousands from their homes, and decimated food production.

Malawi President Arthur Peter Mutharika recently declared a state of national disaster because of widespread and severe food shortages caused by the extreme weather events. Approximately half the population will be food insecure, with children suffering the worst hardships.

These prolonged dry spells have resulted into severe crop failure, particularly in the Southern Region and parts of the Central Region…. Most of the affected districts are the same districts that were affected by the 2015 floods [and] later on by the prolonged dry spells.

—Malawi President Arthur Peter Mutharika
Declaration of a State of National Disaster

April 12, 2016

Zimbabwe is experiencing a situation very similar to Malawi's, with one-quarter of the population threatened by severe food insecurity. The situation is so bad that some farmers have even begun feeding roof thatch to their livestock to keep them alive. In response, Zimbabwe's President declared a state of national disaster in February.

The current historic drought brought on by El Nino conditions will soon end. Unfortunately, the hunger and starvation will continue; the situation has reached a point of no return. According to a recent report in the Guardian, food shortages will grow increasingly more severe through to April 2017.

Planet Aid and its partners stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of sub-Saharan Africa. We have been helping prepare the population in many regions for the impacts of climate change; however, we regret that our work cannot hold back the overwhelming severity of the current damage. We will not cease in our efforts, and commit to continuing to help the people of these countries recover and carry on.