UN says SW Angola facing worst drought in decades

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A general view of Angola's capital Luanda September 2, 2012. — Reuters pic
Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A general view of Angola's capital Luanda September 2, 2012. — Reuters pic

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GENEVA, March 26 — South-western Angola is experiencing its worst drought in four decades, with a severe impact on crops, the United Nations’ World Food Programme warned today.

Affected people are starting to move to other regions of Angola and across the border into Namibia, the WFP said.

“Hunger is on the rise in Angola as the country experiences its worst episode of drought in four decades in the southwestern provinces,” WFP spokesman Tomson Phiri told reporters in Geneva.

“Abnormal dryness is hampering the 2020-21 rainy season, which typically runs from November to April,” with very little to no rainfall.

“People I have spoken to are saying not since 1981 have they witnessed such levels of dryness,” he said.

Phiri said Angola had been experiencing drought episodes since December, with below-average rainfall in several provinces, and the situation is not expected to improve in the coming months.

He said WFP was concerned about chronic food insecurity and malnutrition in worst affected areas as water supply diminishes, severely impacting crops, with losses of up to 40 per cent and increasing the risk for livestock.

“The situation is also reportedly giving rise to migratory movements from the most affected areas with families moving towards other provinces and across the border to Namibia.”

However, the parts of Namibia across the border are also suffering from drought, he said.

The WFP won the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize in October for feeding millions of people from Yemen to North Korea, as the coronavirus pandemic pushed millions more into hunger. — AFP

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