Hunger is on the rise in Angola, which is currently facing its worst drought in 40 years, according to the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP).
The country, on the west coast of Southern Africa, is prompting “extreme concern” for the WFP, “given the chronic food insecurity and malnutrition rates in the worst affected areas,” according to WFP spokesperson Tomson Phiri — who also highlighted that the situation isn’t expected to improve in the coming months.
The 2020/21 rainy season — which occurs from November to April — has been hindered by lack of rain in the southern provinces, which include Cuanza Sul, Benguela, Huambo, Namibe, and Huíla. But the country has been experiencing episodes of drought since December 2020.
The abnormal dryness is “severely impacting crops”, according to the WFP — with losses of up to 40% — and increasing the risk to livestock too.
“The situation is also reportedly giving rise to migratory movements from the most affected areas with families moving towards other provinces and across the border to Namibia,” WFP spokesperson Phiri continued. “WFP is now coordinating food security and nutrition assessments in the south of the country with an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis expected by the end of May.”
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reports that around 36% of Angolans live below the poverty line. The country also has a burden of malnutrition, with 38% of children under the age of 5 affected by stunting — where poor nutrition affects a child’s development — which is higher than average for the Africa region.
Phiri mentioned that the WFP has been supporting the government in the cases of school feeding, vulnerability assessment, and nutrition, and giving help based on the existing needs and gaps in response to the situation.
As of 2019, Angola has been experiencing significant climate change shocks — temperatures in the country in 2019 were the highest in 45 years, alongside drought.