A devastating El Niño-induced drought has affected an estimated 40 million people across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, and out of this figure, more than 23 million are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
In light of this situation, the SADC Chairperson, Lt. General Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of Botswana will this month declare a Regional Disaster and launch a Regional Appeal for Humanitarian and Recovery Support amounting to US$2.7 billion.
The Appeal will be a formal request to the international community to provide assistance to affected Member States. Five Member States, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe have already declared national drought emergencies. South Africa has declared a drought emergency in 8 of the country's 9 provinces, while Mozambique declared a 90-day institutional red alert for some southern and central areas.
For SADC, the current El Niño-induced drought is the worst in 35 years, following the failure of two consecutive rainy seasons. The severe drought conditions have already taken toll on lives and livelihoods and the situation could deteriorate further if urgent assistance is not provided.