The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has allocated US$127 million to fund the procurement of humanitarian aid and social safety nets to save nearly 17 million people affected by a regional drought in six Southern African nations.
SADC chairman and Botswana President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama declared the El-Nino-induced drought a state of disaster and launched a US$2.4 billion appeal for emergency humanitarian assistance to save people and livestock.
USAID said the new funding would help people affected by the 2015/2016 drought in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Madagascar, Lesotho and Swaziland. In the past few months, USAID has provided nearly US$123 million to mitigate the drought impacts and build resilience in Southern Africa. “This new humanitarian funding will be provided through UN and NGO partners to help address the needs of those affected by the drought, consistent with the Southern Africa Development Community’s (SADC) regional appeal for $2.4 billion in assistance that President Khama is officially launching in Botswana on July 26. In Southern Africa emergency needs due to the drought continue to increase.
“Triggered by El Niño and consecutive poor rainy seasons, the drought is eroding people’s ability to cope and threatening important development gains. Over 17 million people across southern Africa are expected to face acute food insecurity. The drought’s impacts on food security, nutrition, water access, and treatment for those living with HIV will last well into 2017. “Our additional contribution will provide emergency food assistance, nutrition and health support, access to safe drinking water, and seeds ahead of the upcoming planting season to promote agricultural recovery,” the agency said.
The agency said the US remained committed to supporting country-led efforts to build drought resilience systems and reduce regional human vulnerability to climate shocks and stresses. Since March 2015, USAID has mobilised nearly US$1 billion for emergency responses to the drought-induced crisis in Southern Africa.