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Zimbabwe declares drought a national disaster

Zimbabwe has declared an El Niño-linked drought disaster, appealing for $2 billion to help feed millions of people threatened with hunger.

Rains failed across 80% of the country, and this year’s grain harvest is expected to be well-short of needs. An estimated 2.7 million rural Zimbabweans are currently dependent on food aid – roughly 20% of the population – while urban residents are also struggling with rocketing inflation. The World Food Programme has described the situation as “dire”.

Zimbabwe is the third country in the region to declare a drought disaster. Zambia rang the alarm in late February, followed by Malawi in March, as southern Africa tries to respond to the humanitarian needs triggered by the El Niño weather event, which usually occurs every three to five years and leads to drier weather in some places and wetter in others. 

In Malawi, millions of people are still struggling with the impact of earlier back-to-back climate disasters that have deepened the poverty of subsistence farmers and undermined the ability of the cash-strapped government to help. Read about it here.

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