The international community should increase support for 16 countries in southern Africa, where a record 45 million people will be severely food insecure in the next six months, the UN World Food Programme (UNWFP) said on Thursday.
"A record 45 million people across the 16-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) will be severely food insecure in the next six months," the UNWFP said in a press release.
"The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are calling for urgent funding to avert a major hunger crisis," it said.
The humanitarian situation in southern Africa has reached a critical point as a result of persistent droughts, cyclones and flooding that have disrupted the region's harvests and agriculture production, the statement continued.
In addition, rising food prices, mass losses of livestock, lack of jobs have exacerbated the situation.
"In nine of the 16 countries -- Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, Eswatini and Lesotho -- more than 11 million people now face an emergency level of food insecurity," the release noted.
To contain the emergency, the UN is scaling up its response to deliver assistance to the nine countries by mid-2020.
"The assistance includes aid to farmers to boost production, adopt climate-smart agricultural approaches, better access credits and promote vaccination campaigns to prevent livestock disease," the statement further said.
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