Southern Africa cries for help as El Nio and climate change savage maize harvest

Only half of $600 m promised in aid has come

Two-year-old Zeka screams as a health employee evaluates the circumference of her arm while another comprises her legs and presses her body. The nannies agree: Zeka has clear signs of edema, a swelling condition is generated by extreme hunger.

She live their lives, but she needs to go to infirmary. The situation in this area is much worse than when we were here simply a few weeks ago.

It looks like 10% of children here are now malnourished. It is necessarily get worse, articulated director health helper Ane Banda, who is leading a government assessment of rural areas near Nsanje, close to the Malawian borderline with Mozambique.

We have not eaten for days, articulated Zekas mother, who has been living off wild fruit, sea lilies and the kindness of neighbours but has been told to attend a meat handout in her village the next day.

Malawi is one of seven southern African countries on the brink of starvation and in a situation that the UN articulates needs requires immediate action.

It has been were destroyed by a mix of a long drought is generated by a strong El Nio weather cycle and climate change. Successive maize reaps have miscarried, leaving communities there and in Zambia, Congo, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and elsewhere, desperate for food.

Madagascar is the most critical, articulated David Phiri, UN food and agriculture coordinator based in Harare, Zimbabawe.

Hundreds of thousands of people are on the brink of famine. We may appreciate fatalities there from starvation. People appear to have no food or money. The costs of inaction or further delaying our response is too ghastly to contemplate. It needs immediate action, he warned.

People stand in line for food aid at a school in the village of Malikopo. Photograph: Andrew Renneisen/ Getty Images

Hunger levels in parts of southern Madagascar stand at period four of a five-point magnitude are exploited by aid agencies, in which five is famine. Our fright is not a widespread famine across southern Africa but hotspots of deep thirst in different countries. People have exhausted all their reserves now and their coping mechanisms.

If food does not arrive, it will lead to serious issues like childhood stunting, which have lifelong wallops. Even if people recuperate, they will be prone to cardiovascular diseases.

Forty million people in southern Africa and a further 11 million in Ethiopia will need food aid over the next few months, Phiri articulated. But many may get little or nothing because simply 25% of the $2.9 bn in aid sought by the seven most affected countries has been pledged. A separate World Food programme is calling for $600 m is only half-funded.

We expected more money to have been pledged by now but we understand donor budgets are limited. There are a lot hotspots of all the countries which need meat succour and which are considered more critical than southern Africa, articulated Phiri.

The numbers of people needing emergency meat are rising tight, articulated Coco Uiyama, head of the World Food programme in Malawi. The situation is building up. In November 5.7 million Malawians required meat, in December it will be 6.2 million.

By January we will have 6.5 million hungry people virtually one in three people. This will last-place until at the least March. Malawi is the highest impacted of all the affected countries.

A Malawian woman carries food aid distributed by the UN World Food Progamme. Photograph: Mike Hutchings/ Reuters

Money[ from donor governments] has come, though not as fast as we are willing to. We have had to cut people to half rations when there was not enough. We are diverting ships, and money is being reallocated from other budgets.

The peak of the crisis is currently in January. Dispensing the meat to remote fields will be difficult, articulated Danny Harvey, country head of Concern Worldwide in Zambia, where practically 1 million people need assistance. South africa has been forgotten again.

The food is just not there in some homes. The situation is quite desperate in some homes. Creeks have dried up, she articulated.

China has given 5,500 tonnes of rice to Zimbabawe, but the two countries has received only 40% of the $350 m requested to feed 5.5 million people, said the UN.

Britain articulates the Department for International Development has given the second most humanitarian assistance after the US.

[ We have furnished] 356 m for the total UK response to El Nio across Africa, including 43.1 m for Malawi. The humanitarian structure as a whole still needs to improve its early answer mechanism, articulated James Wharton, international progress minister.

While some international agencies reacted well to the El Nio an early warning system in 2015, others have not.

Tackling the world challenges of our time, such as climate change, who are capable of gasoline migration, insecurity and instability, is securely in Britains own national interests, he articulated following a visit to Malawi.

DfId articulates 52 million people suffer from meat anxiety, one million children require treatment for severe acute malnutrition and 5.8 million people need emergency sea and sanitation in Ethiopia alone.

The response to this predicted, slow-onset crisis has been too little too late. Despite the crisis coming on the heels of a poor growing season in 2014 and an economic downturn, the regions governments were slow to scale up their answer, as were the humanitarian agencies, articulated Oxfam in a briefing note.

Above-normal torrents are predicted in most parts of the region, which could support reaps and replenish sea generators, but are also likely to bring the threat of flooding, articulated Nellie Nyangwa, Oxfam Zambia director.

Farmers desperately require seeds and fertilisers if they are to are benefiting from torrents and make better reaps next year, she said.

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