Approximately 45 million people in southern Africa, mostly women and children, are facing starvation, the United Nations World Food Programme has said.
The increasing risk of food insecurity stems from drought, flooding and economic disarray, WFP regional director for southern Africa Lola Castro said in a Thursday statement.
“This hunger crisis is on a scale we’ve not seen before and the evidence shows it’s going to get worse,” Castro said.
The crisis is being exacerbated by a shortage of funds to address the problem as well as global warming as temperatures double, negatively impacting subsistence farmers dependent on unreliable rainfall.
The countries worst hit by the current drought are eSwatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
According to UN figures half of Zimbabwe’s population of 15 million lives in a state of food insecurity while wildlife has also been impacted with 200 elephants starving to death in the country last year.
Ten percent of Namibians and 20 percent of Lesotho’s population also face food insecurity.