Latest Southern Africa Fact Sheet

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Key Developments

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance USAID/OFDA) is responding to a regional drought in Southern Africa, including in Angola, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe.

In May, the USAID-funded Famine Early Warnings System Network (FEWS NET) reported that Lesotho’s lean season had ended and projected an average 2017 harvest. Increased labor opportunities associated with the harvest, as well as sale of livestock products such as wool and mohair, are bolstering income for poor households and have resulted in reduced staple food prices. FEWS NET projects that stable food prices and improved income opportunities will continue through September. As a result, the majority of households in Lesotho will likely experience Minimal levels of food insecurity between May and September, according to FEWS NET.

The advent of harvests in Southern Africa has resulted in improved food security across much of the region, although high prices for staple goods and lost assets continue to present challenges to many households. As a result, relief actors continue to provide assistance in areas where vulnerable populations are still recovering from recent cyclones in Madagascar and Mozambique and the regional drought, both of which resulted in the loss of crops and livestock, as well as damage to infrastructure.

Food security actors are monitoring potential infestations of fall armyworm, an invasive insect species that can cause significant damage to both staple and cash crops. Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are at risk of continued infestations and fall armyworm-related losses to maize and wheat crops through December. In the absence of fall armyworm control measures and monitoring, these crops are vulnerable to pest-related damage, according to FEWS NET.

USAID humanitarian assistance is mitigating the effects of drought and cyclones on vulnerable households in Southern Africa. To date in FY 2017, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) has provided more than $8.6 million in multi-sector assistance and USAID’s Office of Food for Peace has provided nearly $45 million in emergency food and nutrition assistance to meet the humanitarian needs of disaster-affected populations in the region.

USAID/OFDA recently provided a total of more than $1 million to non-governmental organization Medair and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to address water, sanitation, and hygiene needs in cyclone-affected areas of northern Madagascar. With USAID/OFDA assistance, Medair and UNICEF are restoring damaged water and sanitation infrastructure and providing water treatment supplies to health centers, households, and schools to mitigate the spread of waterborne diseases.

USAID/OFDA also recently provided nearly $1.9 million to CARE in Mozambique to support agriculture, food security, and protection activities targeting drought-affected communities in Inhambane, Tete, and Zambezia provinces.

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA)  is responding to a regional drought in Southern Africa. Please visit our webpage for additional information.


Lesotho experiences erratic rainfall, recurrent droughts, and soil degradation, which can adversely affect food security. In addition to responding to urgent humanitarian needs, USAID/OFDA supports interventions to build the capacity of people in Lesotho to withstand disasters. For example, USAID/OFDA has supported programs to train emergency responders in Lesotho and supported initiatives to improve the land management and agricultural techniques of local farmers.

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Last updated: June 07, 2017

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