Johannesburg - Hunger is threatening the lives of 11 million people in southern Africa due to deepening drought, with Red Cross teams across Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia scaling up their response to emergency and crisis levels of food insecurity, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Thursday.
Zambia and Zimbabwe have seen the most significant increase in food insecurity from last year, with 2.3 million and 3.6 million people respectively suffering from acute shortages, the IFRC said.
It called for 7.7 million Swiss francs to mitigate the crisis, saying the overall objective of the multi-country emergency appeal was to provide immediate food assistance and livelihood recovery support to the most affected households in targeted communities for 14 months.
"This year’s drought is unprecedented, causing food shortages on a scale we have never seen here before,” said Dr Michael Charles, head of the IFRC’s southern Africa cluster.
“We are seeing people going two to three days without food, entire herds of livestock wiped out by drought and small-scale farmers with no means to earn money to tide them over a lean season.”