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Hunger crisis looming in southern Africa

Written by Tearfund | 31 Oct 2019

Young girl with not enough food

Written by

Written by  Tearfund

The devastating consequences of the climate crisis are hitting southern Africa hard – and it’s set to get worse in the next few months.

Some parts of the region have had their lowest rainfall since 1981, while others have endured cyclones, crop-eating pests and diseases. 

Today, more than 9.2 million people don’t have enough food. This figure is expected to grow to 12 million, at the peak of the lean season (October 2019 to March 2020).

Pregnant women, new mothers and children, as well as the elderly and those with disabilities are most vulnerable. 

Not enough to survive
The number of acutely malnourished children in parts of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Angola is growing.

‘Some parts of the region have had their lowest rainfall since 1981.’

In Mozambique, two cyclones, drought and violence in the north are expected to leave nearly 2 million people without enough food to survive. 

Across the region, the risk of gender-based violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect, particularly against women and children, has risen. This has been exacerbated by the disasters and the lack of food.

Immediate needs
‘The situation on the ground is dire and could become catastrophic,’ says Elizabeth Myendo who leads Tearfund’s Disaster Management Team for Southern and East Africa.

‘Our local church partners on the ground in Angola, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique are saying the immediate needs are food and water for the people. In some rural areas, more than 60 per cent of the population are living on a single meal a day.’ 


Father God,

May your presence and provision be in abundance for people in southern Africa who face an acute lack of food. Please guide Tearfund staff and partners, as well as other humanitarian groups, in how to best respond to this crisis. And please give wisdom to leaders and politicians in the region. 

In Jesus’ name, amen.

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