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Illustrating the extent and severity of the 2015-16 drought

  • Special Report
  • Southern Africa
  • March 18, 2016
Illustrating the extent and severity of the 2015-16 drought

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  • Preface

  • Preface

    A severe drought, related to El Niño, is ongoing across the Southern Africa region. This drought has limited crop production and exacerbated the current lean season. While April/May harvests will provide some temporary relief, food insecurity during the 2016/17 consumption year is expected to be severe. This report presents a series of maps which illustrate the extent and the severity of the drought as well as its impacts on water availability, crop and rangeland conditions, food prices, and food security. For a more detailed narrative and analysis of the drought’s current and expected impacts on food security, please visit


    This map illustrates how rainfall between October 2015 and February 2016 deviated from the 1982-2011 average across the Southern Africa Region. During this period, rainfall was less than 75 percent of average across most of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, and South Africa as well as significant portions of Zambia, Malawi, Angola, and Madagascar. The major agricultural season for Southern Africa runs from October/November through April and this abnormal dryness has occurred in many important cropping areas.

    Please click the Download button at the top to view the full report with aditional maps.

    Figures October 2015 – February 2016 rainfall anomaly (% of the 1982-2011 average) for Southern Africa

    Figure 1

    Map 1

    Source: FEWS NET/USGS

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