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.

Frequent and above-average rainfall occurred in many parts of southern Africa from mid-November to mid-December, including northern Madagascar, south-central Angola, and southern Mozambique, and maize-producing areas of northeast South Africa, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). During the week of December 15, NOAA reported that moderate to heavy rain fell in southern Angola, eastern Zimbabwe, southern Mozambique, and Zambia. Despite improved rainfall across many parts of the region, rainfall deficits exceeding 50 millimeters persisted in northern Angola, southern Madagascar, western Zambia, and western Zimbabwe. Vegetation indices indicate that below-average rainfall has negatively impacted cropping activities in affected areas.

On December 6, the UN Regional Inter-Agency Standing Committee (RIASCO) launched an update to the 2016 Regional Action Plan, highlighting increased humanitarian needs in Southern Africa. The revised RIASCO appeal targets 13.8 million people requiring food, health, nutrition, and water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance through April 2017 as a result of the 2015/2016 El Niño-induced drought—an 11 percent increase in targeted beneficiaries since July.

The UN World Food Program anticipates a break in the food assistance pipeline in Madagascar beginning in January 2017. Between January and March—the peak of the lean season—humanitarian actors anticipate being able to provide assistance to 265,000 people—27 percent—of an estimated 978,000 people in need of food assistance, according to the UN. Approximately 850,000 people in southern Madagascar are experiencing Emergency—IPC 4—and Crisis—IPC 3—levels of food insecurity.

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: December 27, 2016

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