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Increased requirements in Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland

[Zambia] Kala Refugee Camp in Zambia, HCR food distribution. IRIN
Zambia's key social indicators are among the worst in Africa
Poor winter harvests and the late onset of planting-season rains have resulted in a greater need for food aid over the next few months in three countries in Southern Africa. In its latest situation report the World Food Programme (WFP) noted that "following consecutive seasons of bad harvests, an increase in [food aid] requirements has been approved for Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland". The agency added that "the increase has resulted in a shortfall of maize toward the end of the Regional EMOP [emergency operation] in May and June. Therefore, additional donations are required in order to avoid disruption to the pipeline at this time". WFP spokesman Richard Lee told IRIN that in Lesotho the number of people in need of food aid had risen from 375,000 to 600,000. IRIN reported in January that the continuing cycle of drought and crop failures was leading to ever-increasing vulnerability in Lesotho, with the head of the WFP country office warning that the cumulative impact of ongoing drought, poverty and HIV/AIDS was eroding people's ability to cope. He added that in Swaziland and Malawi "we'll be reaching more people during this period, but not as many as during the peak period". The peak period is also known as the lean season - when households have generally exhausted their stocks from the previous harvest. The WFP office in Malawi said "the extra regional food allocations made for Malawi, together with two other countries, is to allow us to support some areas in the country that had poor winter harvests last year and [are] now affected with the late onset of planting rains, the prolonged dry spell and the erratic rainfall". WFP Malawi has had its EMOP extended by three months, from July through September, "to allow the country office to plan and source funds for other future interventions". In Swaziland, food aid monitors have reported that household food security in the Lubombo Plateau and the Lowveld is said to be deteriorating, due to the increased effects of HIV/AIDS and worsening poverty. "The February Post-distribution Monitoring (PDM) report shows very high levels of vulnerability. The trend seen in recent PDM reports is consistent with the recent VAC [vulnerability assessment committee] update that found 100 percent of families with varying degrees of food deficit in the Lowveld," WFP said.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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