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Green harvests are improving food access, but Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes remain in southern Africa

  • Key Message Update
  • Southern Africa
  • April 2023
Green harvests are improving food access, but Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes remain in southern Africa

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  • Key Messages
  • Key Messages
    • Across much of the region, the start of the green harvest is beginning to reduce food consumption gaps as the lean season ends. In Madagascar, households in the Grand South are facing Crisis! (IPC Phase 3!) outcomes as they remain reliant on humanitarian assistance to mitigate worse outcomes, while Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are present in southern Malawi following widespread flooding from Tropical Storm Freddy, deficit-producing areas of Zimbabwe, southwestern and southern Angola, and the southern lowlands of Lesotho, along with the conflict-affected areas of Mozambique and DRC. However, Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes are present in health zones territories of Djugu, and conflict impacted Rutshuru of DRC. Across the region, the start of the main harvest season in April is expected to improve food availability and access, driving improved food security outcomes across much of the region. 

    • Crop conditions remain mixed for main-season cereals as prolonged dry spells and high temperatures in February and March resulted in moisture stress, particularly in southern Angola and southern and central Zimbabwe. In late February and early to mid-March, Cyclone Freddy brought heavy rains, flooding, and strong winds to Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe, with varying crop effects. However, in Malawi, the impacts of Cyclone Freddy are expected to drive higher levels of acute food insecurity than FEWS NET previously projected in February. The cyclone affected around 20 to 30 percent of the population in southern Malawi, and severely flood-affected districts will likely remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) through September.

    • In Mozambique and Malawi, flooding from cyclone Freddy, displacements, and damage to water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure are leading to cholera outbreaks. In Mozambique, the cumulative number of reported cases increased from 6,329 to over 11,500 cases in March across 38 districts in eight provinces. In the DRC, epidemics have been resurgent in the IDP camps of North Kivu. According to MSF, an average of 90 new cholera cases were reported daily, with nearly 900 cases of measles reported since January in the Nyiragongo health zone alone.

    • Across southern Africa, food prices seasonally increased in March. However, maize prices will likely begin declining in April as market demand for maize grain declines as poor households rely more on their harvests for food. The continued rise in food inflation is driving further increases in headline inflation rates, negatively impacting the purchasing power of poor households across the region. High global oil prices and depreciating domestic currencies also elevate inflation levels. Additionally, power rationing has become a chronic problem for several economies as demand continues to outstrip supply, continuing to impact economic and livelihood activities.

    FEWS NET. Southern Africa Key Message Update April 2023: Green harvests are improving food access, but Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes remain in southern Africa, 2023.

    This Key Message Update provides a high-level analysis of current acute food insecurity conditions and any changes to FEWS NET's latest projection of acute food insecurity outcomes in the specified geography. Learn more here.

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