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RIASCO Humanitarian Outlook for Southern Africa, November 2017 to April 2018

The report covers the main humanitarian issues in Southern Africa. Southern Africa continues to recover from the disastrous 2015/2016 El NiƱo-induced drought, which by January 2017 affected about 41 million people across the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). The substantial government- and SADC-led response, supported by $900 million from the international humanitarian community, empowered farmers to take advantage of a good 2016/2017 rainfall season, delivering an April 2017 cereal harvest 3 per cent above the 5-year average.

However, at least 5 million people across the region continues to require emergency humanitarian assistance. Most Southern Africans rely on rain-fed subsistence farming, which is vulnerable to even the slightest shock, attested to by high levels of child malnutrition. New outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza are decimating poultry and wild bird populations. The Fall Armyworm (FAW), a new pest to the region, has the potential to cause widespread crop damage.

Normal to above-normal rainfall is predicted for the October 2017 to April 2018 season. While conducive to agricultural production, the rains will inevitably lead to flooding, and tropical cyclones will likely affect Indian Ocean countries. Cholera is endemic to several Southern African countries, and flooding will exacerbate poor water and sanitation conditions, which in Madagascar is contributing to an unprecedented urban plague outbreak. New and old conflicts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) continue to affect Southern and Eastern Africa as people cross international borders in search of safety.

Webspace(s): 
Organization(s): 
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Original Publication Date: 
27 Nov 2017
Document type: 
Periodic Monitoring Report
Theme(s): 
Food/Nutrition Crisis
Natural Disasters
Coordination hub(s): 
Southern Africa Office