Weather: Drought: Zimbabwe declares state of disaster

Drought: Zimbabwe declares state of disaster

A woman carries a sack of corn flour that she received at a World Food Program distribution center: a state of emergency has been declared in southern Africa. photo

© Kenneth Jali/AP/dpa

According to weather experts, the current weather phenomenon El Niño is one of the five strongest recorded in decades. Several countries in southern Africa are feeling this.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced the… State of disaster declared. Due to a dry spell caused by the El Niño climate phenomenon, farmers have only been able to harvest just over half of the planned grain harvest, Mnangagwa said during a news conference in the capital Harare.

In around 80 percent of the country, much lower rainfall than usual was recorded. The government therefore needs financial aid amounting to two billion US dollars to avert hunger in the country of 17 million inhabitants, said the president.

The neighboring countries of Zambia and Malawi have also already declared a state of disaster due to El Niño – a weather phenomenon that occurs at irregular intervals in the equatorial Pacific. According to the UN children’s fund Unicef, nine million people in Malawi and six million residents in Zambia are currently affected.

In addition, tens of thousands are already suffering from drought in Mozambique, Botswana and Angola. According to the World Weather Organization (WMO), the current El Niño is one of the five strongest recorded over several decades. The region experienced its “driest February in 40 years,” according to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP). According to the WFP, around 70 percent of the population in southern Africa relies on agriculture as a source of livelihood. It is now autumn in the southern hemisphere.


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