Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Floods could herald humanitarium disaster

Floods could herald humanitarian disaster


Where is this story? Massive rainfall across swathes of Southern Africa,
affecting no less than ten countries in the region, has placed enormous
pressure on the food supply, meaning that in the near future shortages could
become a reality placing lives at risk. The international community must act
now before it is too late.

The rainy season visits Southern Africa every year, coinciding with the
European winter. The current season is halfway through and rivers in
Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe
are at serious risk of flooding, while the cyclone season is set to peak
this week.

Cindy Holleman, the FAO Regional Emergency Coordinator for Southern Africa,
launches the alert in declarations on the FAO official site: “Food
insecurity levels are already critical in the affected areas of some of
these countries and floods will only further worsen the ability of poor
farmers to cope and feed their families in the coming months”.

Storms and floods have already killed 123 people in the region; the list of
countries affected includes the above-mentioned countries and Angola,
Madagascar and Malawi. Thousands of hectares of agricultural lands have been
destroyed by torrential rains and floods across these countries and there is
a great risk of the damage increasing, according to FAO.

In Lesotho, around 60 per cent of the harvest has been lost in the worst
affected areas, while 4,700 heads of livestock have been lost; Mozambique’s
southern and central regions have issued a red alert due to the fact that
the large rivers are already swollen and a state of disaster has been
declared in parts of South Africa, where thousands of hectares of crop land
have been devastated.

FAO is setting up control and early warning systems to check the evolution
in the main rivers and to assess the effect on the crops and communities,
providing technical advice for governments in the region on preparedness and
measures to prevent the spread of disease. The UNO is preparing to provide
timely assistance with the delivery of quality seeds and methods to restore
agriculture after the rainy season is over.

An increased shortage of food from this region comes at a time when food
prices are already inflated to historic levels, creating a trend which
promises to push them up even higher.

Sources: UNO, FAO

Timofei Belov



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