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June 13, 2019

Southern Africa 2018/19 Rainfall Amount Lowest In 38 Years

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region recorded the lowest rainfall in nearly four decades in the 2018-2019 cropping season, sparking fears of increased food insecurity and water shortages. A SADC Food Security Early Warning System Agromet update for the 2018-2019 cropping season indicates that a strong drought affected central and western parts of the region during the just-ended rainfall season.

Only a few areas in the SADC region received good rainfall for much of the season.These include northern Malawi, northern Mozambique, parts of Tanzania, and north-eastern Zambia. Three SADC countries had to declare a state of drought disaster due to the low rainfall. Namibia, which has been hit by successive droughts since 2013, has declared a state of emergency over the situation which has left more than 500 000 people without access to enough food and water. The country has lost more than 60 000 domestic animals over the past six months.

South Africa too has declared the current drought affecting some parts of its provinces a disaster. Tropical Cyclone Idai brought heavy rainfall and strong winds to Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe between March 5 and 19, 2019, causing severe flooding which led to loss of lives, destruction of infrastructure, disruption of livelihoods and destruction of crops.

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